So summer is officially over. Right? Fall technically doesn’t start until later in the month, but the pool is closed and kids are back in school. I hope you were able to get a lot of great reading in this summer. I’m sharing today one of the best books I’ve read in a while, one I saw on many best of the summer lists, although I’m not sure why. At the end of this book I sobbed – not something you want to be doing at the beach or the pool! This John Green gem details the lives of two teens who meet in a cancer support group. Sounds uplifting, right? Given that premise even in the beginning of the book, I was expecting something sappy and predictable. I was wrong.
Of course the ending is sad, but not in the way one might expect. And without giving away the ending, because this is a book you’ll want to pick up, I will say that Hazel and Augustus (Gus), who are the main characters, will find a place in your heart. Their relationship is challenged from the start, and unlike other novels I’ve read dealing with cancer and loss, this one focuses on the perspective of the one afflicted with the disease. Hazel experiences emotion and insight that is far beyond her age. She wonders several times throughout the book what life would be like for her parents after she is gone. Wow! I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be so young dealing with those heavy issues. She does so with an incredible amount of grace, humor, and humility, while only 17.
John Green is a popular young adult writer you may not be familiar with. The Fault in Our Stars is one that transcends his genre, and was on the New York Times Bestseller List for quite some time. It is poignant, and funny, and gives new perspective to the cancer experience. Green has written several teen novels, this most recent one was released in January of last year. (Now kicking myself for not having read this book sooner!)
“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)”
This story broke me. I really had to put it down and pause… And grab a tissue! A movie version of the book is slated for release next year – this one I can’t wait to see. 2 big things to look forward to in this movie: Shailene Woodley, from The Secret Life of the American Teenager and The Descendants, starring as Hazel, and Laura Dern as her mother!! I will be there – with a bucket of popcorn, and a box of tissues!!