I first read about this book through The Vampire Diaries’ executive producer Julie Plec and one of my most favorite entertainment writers Carina Mackenzie. I haven’t experienced any John Green book, but seeing how much they were tweeting about it, it made me curious. I wanted to wait for the paperback version but when I visited National Bookstore and Powerbooks, the hardcover was assaulting me everywhere, so I had to give in.
So let’s dig in.
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
RATING: 5 out of 5. Jesus, this book made me bawl, made me laugh, made me question my existence. Essentially, this book is perfect.
- Augustus Waters. He is a compelling ‘leading man’ in the book, and I couldn’t ask more from him.
- Isaac. He was equally lovable, and I liked it how he was Hazel’s friend too.
- Hazel Grace (yes, I’m calling her that). She was witty, funny, and she matched Augustus equally well.
- THE PLOT
- Inasmuch as I wanted to say that I didn’t quite predict the ending, somehow, I realized it along the way. But that didn’t take away the juiciness of the story for me; in fact, it made me crave to see how it’ll all unravel.
- THE FEELINGS
- Oh gosh. This book had me laughing, had me kilig, had me crying (this was one was the most common reaction I had), had me feeling frustrated, had me thinking. And that’s what great about some books—they make you think, and then they make you do. This is one of those books.
- Hmm… nothing really.
- And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal. (p. 33)
- “Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them.” (p. 60)
- “That’s the thing about pain…. It demands to be felt.” (p. 62)
- “Okay,” he said after forever. “Maybe okay will be our always.” (p. 73)
- “But I believe in true love, you know? I don’t believe that everybody gets to keep their eyes or not get sick or whatever, but everybody should have true love, and it should last at least as long as your life does.” (p. 75)
- “I’m like. Like. I’m like a grenade, Mom. I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?… I’m a grenade. I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there’s nothing I can do about hurting you; you’re too invested, so just please let me do that, okay? I’m not depressed. I don’t need to get out more. And I can’t be a regular teenager, because I’m a grenade.” (p. 99)
- That whole exchange in pages 118-119
- Pages 122-123
- Gus’s first plane ride (pages 146-148)
- “I’m in love with you… I am. I am in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” (p. 153)
- “It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.” (p. 176)
- Amsterdam trip (except for van Houten), especially pages 203-208
- The world is not a wish-granting factory. (p. 214) [Jesus, may I say I was crying SO HARD at this part]
- “You used,” he said, and then took a sharp breath, “to call me Augustus.” (p. 240) [Basically, ‘breaking down’ isn’t just enough to term what I did when I read this line. At what point did you notice that Hazel wasn’t calling Gus ‘Augustus’ anymore? I figured it out quite quickly, and when Gus just said this line, confirming my thoughts, it was just too painful even for me, who’s just a plain reader.]
- CHAPTER TWENTY. Effing prepare your tissues, folks.
- “…You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” (p. 260)
- Gus’s letter to Van Houten, page 310-313
- I am so lucky to love her…. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers. (p. 313)
I want you to know how much this book had made me feel. I was scanning it to fill out the Favorites portion of my review, and I am seriously crying while I’m doing it. Jesus, John Green. YOU ARE AWESOME.