Why I liked it: Late in the novel, one of the characters describes himself as a “Novelist and Semiprofessional Disappointer.” John Green is anything but disappointing in this brilliant and funny book about a teenage girl with a terminal cancer diagnosis. I was apprehensive when I read the book jacket. A book about a 16-year-old cancer victim falling in love definitely has the potential to be mawkish. The main characters were certainly precocious, but believably so. Hazel is a strong and smart girl who is anything but overly sentimental. The supporting characters are equally memorable. I never felt like Green was writing down to a teen audience. He obviously loves words, and uses them well. While this novel has the requisite romance, the relationship wasn’t precious and the interactions felt honest. Green treats the subject of illness, disappointment, nostalgia and death seriously, but also humorously and irreverently. This is a teen novel for readers who might not usually like teen novels.
Three words that describe this book: unflinching, funny, vibrant.
The review is brought you by the letter “M” for Melissa, one of our wildly hilarious and well-read library associates. She has an avid love of rainbows, unicorns, pygmy sloths, and sarcasm in literature.