‘It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.’
As a big fan of John Green’s novels, it might seem strange that I haven’t reviewed any his books on my blog, yet.
In fact, after I read The Fault in Our Stars, I was so blown away that I never quite knew how I could review such a fantastic novel, and I didn’t feel quite right discussing his previous work before I talked about my all-time favourite. I continued to put off writing this review in the hopes that I could find the perfect way to describe the book, but the fact is, you can’t describe it, you can only read it and fall in love with it the way I and millions of others did.
‘But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’
Hazel is a 16 year-old terminal cancer patient whose parents force her to attend a support group to get her out of the house, and socialise with other children her age. There she meets 17 year-old Augustus Waters, an amputee in remission from osteosarcoma – they become friends, and she introduces him to her favourite book: An Imperial Affliction. The book is about a girl with cancer who lives an interesting life, that is until the book ends mid-sentence. Hazel has tried countless times to contact the author but to no avail. However, Augustus has a plan…
‘Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something.
Hazel Grace, tell me I have not reached the end of this book.
OH MY GOD DO THEY GET MARRIED OR NOT OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS”’
I loved the plot-line with the unfinished novel, which ultimately creates a brilliant – although somewhat painful – adventure for the teens. The descriptions of Holland are enchanting, and coming from someone who lived there for 3 years, they are also fairly accurate, and for me felt wonderfully familiar.
‘”Do you see that?” I did. There were elm trees everywhere along the canals, and these seeds were blowing out of them. But they didn’t look like seeds. They looked for all the world like miniaturized rose petals drained of their color. These pale petals were gathering in the wind like flocking birds – thousands of them like a spring snowstorm.’
This story may be about children with cancer, but really, it’s not at all: it’s about life. Hazel is a normal teenage girl and Augustus is a normal teenage boy; they just happen to suffer a lot more than most. The characters that John Green creates are so unbearably realistic, and feel so real, that when the book ends you will just be sitting there, wondering what on earth just happened to you.
‘I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.’
Ultimately this is a funny, painful, realistic and altogether wonderful book, John Green has truly outdone himself. His style is so unique, it isn’t really comparable to any other YA authors. However, it stands strong alongside my other all-time favourite YA book(s), The Chaos Walking Trilogy. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he brings out next.
Suitable for age 14+
Original Book Girl