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Summary: Hazel (16) is fighting a severe form of lung cancer. Her parents force her to go to a support group, where she and her friend Isaac are always getting in trouble. When Isaac brings his friend Augustus (who is in remission) to group, they hit it off immediately. They make a deal that Augustus will read Hazel’s favorite book “An Imperial Affliction” if she reads the novelization of his favorite game. Augustus loves the book, but it ended ambiguously. Augustus writes letters to Peter van Houten to find out how the book ends. Peter agrees to answer his questions, but he must come to see him in Amsterdam. On that trip, Augustus reveals that his cancer is back. After Augustus' death, Hazel is very depressed and wants to find the letter Augustus said he sent his own version of the end of the book to van Houten. The letter helps Hazel come to terms with his death and she tries to move on with her life happily. This is a romance for young adults. This is a high interest / low readability book for teens, not middle grade students.
Type of Reading: independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and Up; read yourself: 11 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Teen 1: This is a very versatile novel. It will largely appeal to girls because it is about teenage romance. This is not your average romance because Hazel and Augustus have cancer, which adds a very depressing detail. I would definitely buy this book as a gift because I think it was beautifully written and would not mind reading it again multiple times.
Teen 2: It takes a really good book to get my attention and suck me in. The Fault in Our Stars immediately grabbed my attention - and kept it. I wasn't familiar with John Green before this book. "Wow" pretty much sums up what I think of his writing. One of the best things about this book is how descriptive and genuine the characters are. It is almost like I knew them personally. The author used great imagery. His characters are strong, real, and have relatable attitudes. There isn’t anything about this book that I didn’t like, but I could see some people not liking it because of how heartbreaking it is; so fair warning, be prepared to shed some tears. I should have come prepared with a box of tissues before reading it.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Even with cancer as part of the underlying theme, this is a thoughtful, appealing book that adults and teens can enjoy.
Cons: Some readers may be offended by the profanity and sexual references.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a very poignant moving book that you'll likely want to read again and share with friends.
Educational Themes: Hazel and Augustus' story give readers a lot to think about. Not just for their own lives, but also for the way they look at others (assumptions, judgement). This is an exceptional choice for a book club.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - death and loss, health, illness, young adult, contemporary, realistic fiction
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2013, October 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.