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.
Laura the Listener
I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the characters. The narrator captures teenage sarcasm perfectly. The description of this book doesn't do it justice. I picked it up at the recommendation of a couple friends and loved it from the first word. Listen to this book.
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.
Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.
Believe all the hype! This book is amazing. It will make you appreciate life and living in the now. Everything I felt about this book has already been said, so instead I will just say don't wait (like I did) and just get this one already. So worth it!
After finishing listening to the book, I read many of the reviews hoping to figure out what I missed. I didn't find the book or the characters engaging or sad. The character of the author was particularly annoying, and yet the plot needed him to work. Mr. Green does give us a very satisfying ending, unlike the character of the author. It was a tough topic, and I appreciate the author's respect for the subject without being sappy.
The bonus material at the end of the interview with the author was interesting, although I wondered if the woman asking questions was actually interviewing him. The interview seems very disjointed.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Take away the cancer, and what's left? A couple of teenagers who never fail to say the cleverest thing they can possibly say (contrary to real life), fall in love instantly for the shallowest of reasons (which does happen in real life, but is often left unrequited, or at least not acted upon this quickly), and ... well, without cancer, there's really nothing else, is there? And cancer exists only to give the teenagers a subject for their unerringly witty irony and to jerk endless streams of tears from the target audience.
In short, to use one of his cancer jokes, author John Green has received near-universal praise for this book because of cancer perks. How can you diss a book about the cruelty of kids getting cancer? Even if all you do is joke about it incessantly. Well, I will not hesitate to do so, when it's clear that Green has cynically used cancer as an exploitative tool to elevate an otherwise pedestrian -- nay, mediocre -- teen love story.
Green warns us at the start not to read anything autobiographical into this work of fiction, so I presume he wasn't writing about losing his own child to cancer. Even if he did, though, he still doesn't deserve cancer perks for being so unimaginative about it.
My daughter (13) read the print version last week, and then went to see the movie. I asked her what she thought. She didn't get what the fuss was all about. She didn't know anyone who talked like the kids in the book talk, or act like them. She found them to be shallow. No, I didn't coach her -- I had only just started to listen to the audiobook and was leaning in that direction of criticism but had too far to go to form a final opinion, although that is where I now find myself all the same.
I am not just an adult dismissing a YA novel because I'm old enough to know that the story has been told already, or I'm too old to relate to contemporary teens, or I just don't like stuff that everyone else likes (although that is often the case). I read a lot of the same YA books my kids read, and I loved The Hunger Games, Divergent, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Mike Lupica's YA sports novels, and others -- in my older daughter's YA days, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Hiaasen's Hoot and Chomp, etc.
In fact, the only other mega-popular YA book I had this kind of reaction to was The Book Thief, which I also thought traded too heavily on tragedy and was too full of itself with its post-modern Angel of Death device (as this book is too enamored of its own wit and its post-modern devices like cancer perks and the last best day). That one actually angered me -- this book, not altogether bad, some redeeming qualities, but as my daughter said, I just don't get what the fuss is all about. Maybe you will.
a dedicated dilettante
This is a story of lives lived out in a compacted time due to cancer. I will not give the line that these two lived more in their brief time together than most live in longer lives, although that may be true. I will say that their time together is authentically loving. I think that is both the tragedy and the allure of the book. Well, the writing might be a bit of a draw as well, of course. I’m reminded of that famous Camus line: “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
I applaud the book’s rejection of tripe and its honest struggle for meaning.
Kate Rudd has a challenge set before her in the narration of the book: breathless but snarky cancer-ridden teenage girl, confident but sensitive teenage boy and Dutch accents. She must cry and laugh but enunciate enough that we understand her. She does all of this and more. She refers to her work as performing a book, not narrating it. I think that’s an accurate assessment. I especially like how she portrays Augustus Waters’ confidence in his pacing as well as his tone. Admirably done Ms. Rudd.
I whole-heartedly encourage you to read the book; you might want to have a few tissues by your side both for tears of laughter and of pain.
For full review: wp.me/p2XCwQ-AL
Well its my first audiobook, but it was an amazing book.
The narrator really added to my enjoyment of this book. I really enjoyed the expression in her voice. I have to admit though, having a female voice trying to sound like a man was a little strange.
There is a film to this book...can't wait to see it.
Worth the money. Read it.
I'm semi-retired at 67 and a recent Cancer survivor.
What a wonderfully sad, funny, powerful and well done book about loving and dying. There is no spoiler here...you can find the fact that this book deals with a terminally ill teenager in any description. It is one of the best books I've read/listened to in a long time...surpassed only by the fabulous The Sea of Tranquility. I highly recommend this book but it is not for the faint of heart. It deals in a most realistic way with the process of being human when your body is thinking otherwise. The characters are so beautifully written, including the support group participants, the parents, and the Dutch writer and his assistant. Literally years in the writing, the author took his time to write it right and I thank him for that. You will laugh out loud, you will smile to yourself, you will get angry, you will shout "NO!", you will find tears that slowly trickle down your face; you (well, at least I did) will sob out loud and you will hear the end with the understanding that death can occur on many levels. It is an extraordinary book.
That being said, the one issue I had with the audio version was the continued use of "she said" and "I said" to the point of frustration. The narrator was wonderful but could have created a slightly different way to differentiate between conversants than 'he said', etc.
The other issue was not with the book but with the Q&A with the author that comes at the end of the recording. I was so moved by the ending and the entire book that the Q&A was not even on my radar; I just needed time to gather my wits about me and savor what a magnificent job Mr. Green did.
This will be a book that I will listen to a number of times simply because it is so well written (for the most part, it does falter and lag in some places) and because the characters are so well constructed as to become real (and most of them probably are) and the story is such a moving and powerful one that is riddled with terrific use of humor. You will no be sorry you listened to this book.
A sad subject presented from the teenagers point of view. I thought this was quite an engrossing story, although it stretched on a bit longer than I would have liked. The narrator was excellent and I enjoyed hearing John Green's interview at the end.