“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings”
Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
Hazel is seventeen and has terminal cancer. At her cancer support group she meets Gus, who lost a leg to his cancer but is now in remission. (I am bad at summarising books without being massively longwinded or making them sound lame, but stick with me on this one).
It’s not a book you read for the plot – all of the ‘twists’ can be seen a mile off – but that doesn’t matter. You read it for the characters and the little snippets of loveliness scattered throughout. It’s about small infinities and big infinities, about how you can leave a legacy without leaving a mark, about all the Cancer Cliches you have to deal with as a Cancer Kid and about how, even though you hate it, you will hurt people because they love you and you will die.
I loved Hazel. She’s funny and thoughtful and clever and I wanted to be her friend. It took me longer to warm to Gus, but that seemed to be about him moving from being a showy ‘Augustus’ to a much more real ‘Gus’.
It’s funny and sad and I loved it. It gave me a book hangover – sure sign of a good book.