Unabashedly asking for more.
This book is gut-wrenching hilarious. I pride myself on being a stoic-narcissistic-not-going-to-make-me-cry type of person and this book just undercut my very existence. I cried. I sat on my couch and I cried. I cried silently as to not wake anyone and have to deal with that awkward "what are you crying about" conversation- but nonetheless, I cried. And I hated John Green for it... I mean here is a story where you already know the subject matter, you already know that there isn't going to a (spoiler alert!) happily ever after. Yet, you dream of that happily ever after... And halfway through the book you start to reason with John Green. Like, I know they can't live forever and everything, but maybe...just maybe... you'll give them a good few years and I can close the book and be blissful about that.
But (spoiler alert!) that doesn't happen... And afterwards as you sit on your couch and cry and curse John Green, you're going to realize that this book is great. Not just great "I'm going to facebook about this book"- but great in a way that makes you want to listen again.
Simply put, stop reading and buy the book already...
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
As others have already said, I almost avoided this book because of the YA designation and the cancer topic. The outstanding reviews won me over and I'm glad I gave in. This not a Lifetime TV movie, all sugar and violin music. The "cancer kids" in the story are fighting tooth and nail to live every day in spite what that fight means. And they don't want pity, they want to matter.
The strength of this book is its heart. I have read reviews (chiefly on Amazon) critical of the dialogue, certain that teens don't really talk this way; disdainful of the many metaphors used to share insights on life and death. In some other books these might be serious flaws, but this story is more about heart and feelings than the words used to express them. More about living life than explaining it. The reality is that people of all ages with terminal diseases do not want to be defined by their disease. They need to maintain their identity separate from a medical diagnosis. This battle for identitiy and significance is what makes Hazel and Gus real - smart mouths and all. I loved the reading by Kate Rudd, communicating the breathlessness of oxygen-dependent Hazel, the teenage sarcasm of the "cancer kids", and the choked emotions of other characters. It is a monumentally overused cliche to say that a book "made me laugh and made me cry", but this one did without making me feel manipulated.
Realistic Engaging Characters
Hazel Grace coming to help Gus at the gas station.
The egging of the exgirlfriend's car
Living everyday as if it were the last
Real characters liviving real life tragedies.
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.
The philosophies discussed are both subtle and well thought out and explored. You care about the characters; you want to meet them for real. The story is about two teenagers who happen to have cancer. It is a big part of their lives, but they struggle to not have it be the defining parts of their lives. They accept the 'cancer perks' just like they accept the cancer tragedies, but this book does a great job of letting you see the humans beneath the circumstances. We all die, but most of us think we have lots of time to sort out what it all means first. These kids know that they don't, so they think a little harder about it, and they grow from the effort.
The reader does an excellent job with the idiosyncrasies of the characters. I can't imagine it being read better.
It seems remarkable to me that a 57 year old man can relate so well to the thoughts of a 16 year old teenage girl, but I guess it shouldn't be so surprising given that the teenage girl's thoughts were well conceived by a man in his 30's.
In spite of the seriousness and sadness in this book, I came away feeling pretty good and was happy that I had taken the time to listen to it.
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.
There was great dialogue in this book. The first part took me back to being young and that intial awkwardness and giddyness you felt when first meeting someone you really liked. Then it became something different. It gave you an interesting look at the lives of young cancer patients and survivors and the affect their diseases has on all of their relationships (family, friends, romantic). And then it added another layer with Hazels need for the epilogue of her favorite book and the recluse author who is incapable of providing the closure she needs. This was a really good read and I would recommend.
Fresh, different - loved the realistic, smart characters and book sub-plot! Reader was perfect! Can't wait to hear another book by Green!
This is a very moving book and well worth the listen. Kate Rudd is a good narrator who really helps bring the story to life.
I have not had the chance to read the print version ......YET.
Hazel, because this was her story.
I'm feeling too many emotions to be able to state right now.