*Edit: I've read a few reviews on this book. And quite honestly, I wish I hadn't. These characters, to me, are too real and too personal to be admonished for not being "normal". How many of us were "normal" at their age? And how many of us were counting down to the end of our days? I think John Green got this right. He remembers that teenagers can fall head over heels, dangerously, and crazily in love with each other. He may not have experienced the slowly dying death that Hazel is going through for this entire novel, but he knows her well enough to know there always needs to be some comfort, even if you're the one dying. Because you will be leaving loved ones behind, guilt and comforting aren't unusual.
I left the review part pretty blank originally. I had such strong feelings that I needed to take a step back, give myself some time, and read the novel again.
Hazel Grace knows she's going to die young. She tells us this right away. She had thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. "My lungs suck at being lungs" is a phrase seen a few times throughout the novel. She's 16 and should be out with friends, going to school, falling in love.
Instead she allows her mother to drag her to support group, watches way too much ANTM, and has already completed her GED, for fear she'd die before finishing school.
But the book isn't depressing. The author makes sure we're with Hazel through the emotions of falling in love, and feeling pain, both physically and emotionally.
And when I say I loved this book I meant this book defines what being young and sick means. I am not Hazel. I didn't still have cancer at age 16, but I know how being sick affects those around you, how scared parents can get, and that "some infinities are larger than other infinities". And when you have to let down those around you, even through no fault of you own, like Hazel does because of this cancer, you really do feel like a grenade in some ways. I know I have.
Read this book. It's sad and hilarious and full of sarcasm and tenderness.