Hazel Lancaster can't breathe. At least not without a oxygen tank attached to her body 24/7. Cancer shrunk her lungs and she doesn't know how long she has left. She just knows it's not a permanent thing, but life isn't permanent for any of us. It's unfair and devastating, but she not a whiny, brooding character. She fights back in her own way, by using wry humour and intellect to spin the depressing void that is death into a refreshing, thought-provoking and often funny perspective. Since the cancer came, forcing her to leave school, she still interacts with her best friend occasionally, but much of Hazel's life is spent within the pages of books. One in particular. Until she meets Augustus Waters at her cancer support group. A gorgeous boy who changes her life from the moment they locks eyes on one another. Drawn together by Hazel's obsession with the novel, 'An Imperial Affliction' and it's controversial ending, she and Augustus take off an a life-changing journey that will not only have a long-lasting effect on their hearts, but on yours too.
Hazel is at first reluctant for things to grow serious between them, because she knows she won't be around for long. Augustus has lost so much thanks to cancer and she cannot - will not - be the cause of more suffering for him. But it proves extraordinarily difficult for her to deny that crooked smile and quirky, inquisitive mind of his that so compliments her own. The chemistry between Hazel and Augustus was undeniable. They had that zing. It was sweet and smart and a beautiful thing to watch evolve, to strengthen and deepen and reach a point where you're so invested in this relationship that you just want to climb into the book and witness this unfolding in 3D.
While at times I found the language to be slightly disbelieving for 16 and 17 year old teenagers (as in, Brodie does not understand that big word, please allow me to pause a moment so I can Google and feel smarter), it made for such intellectual, highly entertaining interactions between both characters. They banter and ponder philosophical questions that linger in your mind long after you close the book. John Green wins you over with these endearing characters and heart warming romance.... and then plummets everything on a downward bender, with you clinging to the raft, unable to jump off. Instead you stare wide-eyed and fearful at where he's taking you. How will it all end for these larger than life characters who have so deeply embedded themselves in your mind, your heart and your Favourite Characters of All Time vault?
The raw and intense look into the devastating effects of cancer will stab at your heart and then cruelly twist the blade deeper and deeper. They see one another at their best and their worst, at the lowest of lows, but never did they leave or say it was all too much. They stuck by each other's side and proved a love so real, so strong and so unequivocally moving.
I cried so much in the last 1/4 of this book. One minute John had me grinning like crazy and literally the next sentence, he would crush it all and reduce me to a blubbering mess of tears. And then make me laugh again. This was my first taste of his work and I have come to the conclusion that he is a damn talented writer. The Fault in Our Stars is an honest, witty, heart-wrenching exploration of two teens united by a common love and a common enemy. It's a story that forces you reassess your own life, to never take for granted the fact that you can breathe without help or run on two legs. To live for today, fight for tomorrow and embrace every moment to its fullest potential.