Author: John Green
Published: Penguin, January 2013
Genre: YA fiction
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
WHAT I THOUGHT:
This is one of three books that has ever made me cry, the other two being Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. I was up at 3am reading under the covers (because I still do that aged twenty) balling my eyes out - I'm just glad I didn't leave it to finish at the hairdressers the next day!
This book really is unputdownable but at the same time there were several points at which I felt I really needed to put it down for the sake of my mental state. It's such a beautifully written book and it feels so honest as if Green were writing at a very personal level which made it special, uplifting and harrowing in equal measure. It's not a happily ever after book so don't read it if that's what you're after but honestly if it had been, the book would have felt like a bit of a waste of time. Green has a knack for drawing in a reader with his beautifully written characters and their heartbreakingly realistic stories. It was written as though you were peeking into someone's diary or watching their lives play out in front of you and this is the feeling that I believe most authors should strive for with their readers.
The way Green describes Gus and Hazel's feelings about An Imperial Affliction is how I felt about this book. An Imperial Affliction (AIA) frustratingly ends in the middle of a sentence and Gus and Hazel's quest to find some closure make up a lot of the book. The more Green mentioned this flaw in AIA the more I worried that he would follow suit and leave me hanging. But, thank goodness, he didn't. He took us right through to an ending that, fortunately, didn't end in death and leave you on a downer. It ended the only way it could, bittersweet and beautiful and painstakingly realistic.
It is most definitely one of the best books I've read all year and Green is an author whose books I will endeavour to continue to explore.
Thanks for reading :)
Naomi Joy xx