John Green writes with courage and conviction about a young woman with terminal cancer and her relationships with those around her. Hazel is a wise and believable central character with a great sense of humour and huge insight. Forced to attend a cancer support group by her mother, she meets the “very hot” Augustus Waters and the two embark on a tentative relationship. Augustus lost a leg to bone cancer a year or two back (and a girlfriend to a brain tumour too), so has an understanding of the pain and humiliation involved in medical treatments. It would be easy to say that their relationship is based on this shared circumstance, but it is not. It is based on their similar outlook on the world, their shared reading tastes, their cleverness.
The book is a wonderful study in love, loss and grief. You’ll find it almost impossible to put down and if you get through it without crying you’re in a minority. Though written originally for teenagers, it certainly holds up for adult readers. It’ll be made into a film later this year, but I think the book is so well written (and revolves around literature to such an extent) that it would be a shame to miss out on the experience of reading it.