I'm a slow reader. It literally takes me about a month to finish a book because I'm always so busy with juggling a full-time job,studying journalism, writing my second novel and being a girlfriend.
Even so, everything else took a backseat as I picked up this book. By the end of the first night, I'd already devoured half of it! That has never happened to me before.
When I started to read it, I was really skeptical. Cancer and illnesses petrify me. I like to pretend that if I ignore them then they don't exist. After very nearly losing my dad last year, it is a very tender topic for me but I battled through in the hopes of there being beauty in the pain and inspiration in the pages of heartache.
Well, there was all of that and more.
Just because this book is about a sixteen year old girl called Hazel Grace who is falling in love for the first time while she battles through a cancer-ridden life - that in no way means that the target market is sixteen year old girls. I'm going into my mid-twenties and this book touched my heart in so many ways. It is such a special novel that anyone, man or woman could enjoy, no matter what age.
Hazel is surviving thyroid cancer on a miracle drug which author, John Green, makes very clear does not exist in the back pages of the book once the story comes to the end (if only it did...).
She is drowning not only literally in her own dysfunctional lungs but also in a painful depression that worries her family and the doctors treating her.
She walks around attached to a oxygen tank and carting around a cannula every day of her life, with tubes up her nostrils and her head buried in books if not religiously following reality TV shows.
In an effort to have her daughter make friends, Hazel's mum begs her to go to a Cancer Support Group instead of lounging in front of the television, watching America's Next Top Model marathons all day long. It is there that she meets the charismatic, blue-eyed boy, Augustus Waters, who (spoiler alert but pretty inevitably!) changes her life.
Have you ever been in love with your best friend?
It's an infinite and unconditional love. Deeper than all others. That is what Augustus and Hazel structured between themselves, among their meaningful conversations that were well beyond their years.
They shared a never ending love that was raw and real; that showed appreciation, support and strength like no other I have seen before. A bond that is so rare that some only ever dream of experiencing it.
Reading their story was the perfected balance between heart-wrenching and heart-warming - with characters you can't help but fall in love with.
It is beautiful yet infuriating all at once.
Green's writing shows you a deeper side to teen literature. So often these days the shelves are crammed with awful teenage ramblings that is pretty vile to be blatantly honest - Green has finally broken past that barrier and with palm forward literally said, 'In Your Face!'
If a novel could be poetry - this would be it.
Now I cannot WAIT to watch the film!!!
Have you seen it or read the book? What were your thoughts on them?