I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - As a rule I don't like sad books or movies, but I decided to take a chance on this one for the sake of variety and also the very high ratings. I was not disappointed. The only reason I didn't rate this book a 5 is because it was -- well, predictably sad. The story is about two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, who both have cancer and fall in love. They are both very smart, mature for their years and have healthy attitudes about their illness. The story doesn't dwell on tear-jerking descriptions of their symptoms and suffering. It is more about how they struggle to just be normal teenagers and try to do what other kids their age do. That is what's so sad, the fact that they just accept amputations, tubes and treatments as normal, often joking about their own shortcomings.
Despite the sadness, it is a beautifully written story and I couldn't stop listening. Hazel and Gus are loveable teenaged characters and their story seems very real. The truth that serious illnesses affect children is something we don't like to think about, but sometimes we need to be reminded.
NARRATION - The reading of this story is good, but there is nothing special about the performance.
OVERALL - If you don't mind a good cry, I would definitely recommend this book.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
I would place this one near the top of the YA titles I've sampled.
I enjoyed the couple's time in Amsterdam. I liked the author of Hazel's book. He was flawed, humorous, and inevitably redeemable.
I also thought the simplistic drawing of the circle diagram was hilarious.
I did cry at the end and chuckle during the middle. John Green has the ability to insert humor at almost every turn. This was his best attempt at creating sadness.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
I've never heard of John Green nor did I know this was a Young Adult book or I may have passed on it completely. I chose it because of all the 5 star ratings. There's no way to sugarcoat this. This book is about teenagers with cancer. Hazel Grace Lancaster, the narrator, is 16 and carries an oxygen tank with her everywhere. Augustus Waters lost his leg to cancer. These two teens meet in a support group and eventually fall in love.
Although the disease is always front and center, Green does an excellent job of creating an adventure that is not related to their illness. He has worked a beautiful story around it in order to follow something more important; a dream to meet Peter Van Houten, an author who lives in the Netherlands. Hazel needs to find out what ultimately happens to a character in one of his books and Augustus is going to do everything in his power to help her make that dream come true. These two teenagers are so inspiring they treat cancer like more of an inconvenience than a life sentence, a real life lesson on many different levels.
I connected to these teens and to their parents. I can honestly say I "enjoyed" this book, it was funny, haunting and tragic all at the same time. Don't pass on it because of the big "C", you'll be missing quite a gem.
Kate Rudd brought Hazel to life. She did an excellent job with the narration.
"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." --Lemony Snicket
It doesn’t matter that John Green’s target audience is teenagers – his characters are smart, honest, and funny no matter how old you are, and the universal themes captured in this book are, well, universal. Terminal cancer may not be the most uplifting of plotlines, but don’t let that stop you from listening to this wonderful story. Though I’ve listened to John Green before (Will Grayson, Will Grayson was also really good!), this was the first time I heard narrator Kate Rudd, and I was most impressed with how she handled all the male and female characters – young and old, American and Dutch. I will definitely be looking for more of her performances in the future!
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I generally find Teen/Young-Adult fiction tedious but I laughed more than I cried (I did both, sometimes simultaneously) during this wonderful book. I have not been a teen for several decades (and was never a teenage girl), but I could not put this book down, and sighed when it came to an end. This is decidedly NOT a book about cancer, this is a book about life. The narration was fantastic, depicting subtle and incongruous teen emotions and the breathless panic of oxygen deprivation. The characters are mostly teens, with fledgling self-images yet they are written with nuance and power and grace. I find most books in this genre sappy, boring, and (unintentionally) uninspiring. I found this book deeply inspiring. It is about choice, particularly the choice to love, regardless of the inexorable outcome of pain, or death, or both.
I really enjoyed sharing many books with my daughter when she was young, in installments on short car trips, or whole books on long trips. Although I would have recommend this book to her, this book has a particularly personal narrative style that I think is better absorbed personally, at least the first time.
Quite a few reviews say things like “heartbreaking” or “sad”. I did not find this book ever sad or heartbreaking, but instead intensely poignant. This is not a tear-jerker. This is a classic that I expect will be recommended and read for many decades to come.
Making the world better one review at a time.
I had a little trouble getting into this book at first (hence the four stars), but once I did I was swept away by it. I even won a "weekend warrior" badge for spending all day Saturday listening to it!
How does this book make the world a better place? It will remind you of how precious life is. Hazel and Augustus, the teenage protagonists who are battling terminal cancer, live more life in their short months together than many people live in years. Their diagnoses urge them on instead of holding them back. They appreciate the fragilitiy of life in a way that we all should, but only those touched by illness often do. Together they experience friendship, love, adventure, loss and ultimately death. Listen to this book and think of the people who are precious to you, then call them and tell them you love them. It's the kind of book that inspires you to do that.
ADDED BONUS!! At the end of the audiobook you get to listen to an interview with author John Green. Green talks about the book, the characters and even his thoughts about what happens to characters after a book ends. He also reveals that there is a version of this audiobook where he is the reader, for those of you who love to listen to authors narrate their own work.
To conclude, whether you are a young adult or an adult who is young at heart, you will enjoy listening to this book. It will remind you of how beautiful life can be, even - or especially - in the face of death.
Me, myself, and I.
There are books that you experience in a state of welcoming bliss. They stick with you because you needed to read them JUST RIGHT NOW. And somehow the universe converged at the perfect moment to drop a wonderful story about this or that into your hands. You read with great fervor the adventures, sadness, mystery, or humor of your fictional doppleganger, and when you are done, you feel awash in both elation and deflation, wondering if you will ever find another story like this one.
This was not one of those stories. It could have been, and at times it seemed on the verge of becoming one of them, but it ended and I did not feel that. I have no doubt that it probably instills in others the feelings that I wrote about above. For me, I experienced the roller coaster of Hazel Grace's young life and was properly enchanted, worried, and hopeful for her. I think that I wanted something even more profound in the end, and it just wasn't there for me.
This, in no way, should discourage you from reading this story. It is beautifully written and wonderfully executed. Kate Rudd does a fantastic job of bringing Hazel Grace to life, to the point that I'm not sure they aren't the same person. This story of life, and its byproduct cancer, is filled with moments of pure happiness, humor, and devastating sadness. John Green's compelling storytelling is on full display here, and I cannot fault the story for any shortcomings.
An excellent read no matter what my unreasonable expectations may have been.
Her performance was AWESOME! That was actually a very enjoyable part of listening.
I wouldn't pay to watch it, but I entertain it if it was on TV to see how they portrayed the characters in the movie.
Kate Rudd did an awesome job with the characters. Overall though it just wasn't my style of story. It's more of a teenage love story for girls. My point was proven when my teenage girl cousin told me all her friends are dieing to watch it in the theater.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
It's been a while since I listened a book that I couldn't "put down." I bought this book on a whim, but was captivated from the very beginning. This is the story about a terminally ill teenager who falls in love with another teenage cancer victim, and just how they cope with what is left of their lives. It is a sweet story, funny, sad, engaging, deep, superficial, heartwarming, heartbreaking. It is very well written. One gets the feeling that these teenagers crammed so much life into their short ones that perhaps we could all take a lesson from them. It is a YA novel but I would hope the young people who choose to read it are mature enough to appreciate and understand it. There is a lot to "handle" in this book.
The narrator, Kate Rudd, is absolutely exceptional. She has a great career ahead of her narrating books if she so chooses. She had me believing her every word.
Although this book is in the young adult genre (my 13 year old was excited to see I was listening to this) I really liked this book. It tells the story of adolescent cancer patients and their lives, loves, and hopes in the face of terminal illness.
The prose and story line are engaging from the start. I wished it was longer!
The narrator did a great job with the vocal inflections of teenagers as well as the other characters.