"The only solution was to try to unmake the world, to make it black and silent and uninhabited again, to return to the moment before the Big Bang, in the beginning when there was the Word, and to live in that vacuous uncreated space alone with the Word."Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Synopsis: Prodigious cancer teens fall in love.
I didn't want to like this book. Don't ask me why, but since the beginning I had already braced myself against for an endless stream of maudlin and sentimental drivel simply because people quoted all the sappy parts nonstop. It's that one book that people assault you with and you don't really get why. So I expected to hate it. But I didn't. Dear God I loved it. Okay, it wasn't perfect and some moments had me raising my eyebrow going what the hell John Green (why do boys expect girls to like boy movies? What the hell is that supposed to mean John Green?), but it was great because rarely do I ever laugh out loud while reading (and I even wept a little *cough* just a little).
"Mom reached up to this shelf above my bed and grabbed Bluie, the blue stuffed bear I had since I was, like one--back when it was socially acceptable to name one's friends after their hue."It's funny okay!?. The book is riddled with all these clever phrases and turn of words. However, sometimes it got a little too clever for it's own good. The characters are intelligent, but there is a difference between intelligence and being extremely well-read. Though I expect there are many intelligent seventeen year olds, I find it rare for them to be well-read. What sort of teenager spouts out things like hamartia (this word is so uncommon that google is telling me that I've spelt Harmonia wrong, whatever that is), or quotes WCW, or appreciates the metaphorical significance of existentially fraught free throws? Okay, maybe I'm just bitter because my own high school education was shit poor (public schools...), so once I accepted that I'm only lamenting my own loss, I moved on.
Every reference in this book is pretty much lit 101 and beginner's lit theory 101. So if you're into Literature with the capital L, prepare to have your ego stroked because you'll have studied every reference alluded to. The conversations swing rapidly between colloquial to eloquent, i.e "awesomesauce" to stuff like "the Whitmanesque revelation that the definition of humanness is the opportunity to marvel at the majesty of creation". To illustrate how the characters talked, I have this handy Dilbert comic featuring Zeno's Paradox.
It might turn some people off, but I think the majority of people can suspend their belief that such amazing teenagers could possibly exist and still be likable and cool and enjoy the story.
The characters were genuine and extremely lovable. Two words: Augustus Waters. Does such a person exist in this world, even in adult form? I found him a little too perfect to be entirely relatable, but I get that his role is to give teenage girls wet dreams and to make them incredibly angry that the only guys at their high school appear like rotting stalks of celery in comparison to the glorious Augustus Waters, professional Golden Boy with the fatal harmatia. Males wanting to read this beware, you may feel threatened.
So this is by no means the best book about cancer and dying (in fact if you're reading it because you or someone you know has cancer, it is better to find a book written by someone who actually went through a similar experience), because it's mainly a book about two teens contemplating love, life, and dying, but I still found it tragically beautiful and touching. As a really random end note, I also really enjoyed the significant meta-ness of Hazel searching for an ending to her favorite book.