I’m Hazel, I’d say when they’d get to me. Sixteen. Thyroid originally but with an impressive and long-settled satellite colony in my lungs.
Hazel was, at the beginning of the story, a somewhat depressed character. She was terminally ill, her death prognosticated at her diagnosis. Her depression is, she says, not a side effect of cancer. It is a side effect of dying. Cancer is a side effect of dying. Everything is a side effect of dying.
Hazel's parents makes her attend a Support Group with a rotating cast of members (side effect of dying) , where she meets characters like Isaac (hilarious guy, especially when playing video games), Patrick (tells the same cancer survivor story every week) and she has her own healthy BFF, Kaitlyn, whose existence I kept forgetting.
Me: “I refuse to attend Support Group.”
Mom: “One of the symptoms of depression is disinterest in activities.”
Me: “Please just let me watch America’s Next Top Model. It’s an activity.”
Mom: “Television is a passivity.”
Hazel's mother is more fleshed out as a character than her father. The only thing I know about the poor man is that he works in an office and that he tries very hard not to cry, often with little success.
I went to Support Group for the same reason that I’d once allowed nurses with a mere eighteen months of graduate education to poison me with exotically named chemicals: I wanted to make my parents happy. There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.
Cancer doesn't only affect the patient. It often affects the entire family - emotionally and financially. I've had a relative who died from cancer, but when she was alive, her siblings pooled their resources to finance the very expensive series of treatments where one needle shot costed thousands. They had to take time off to drive her around to places for treatments, to religious events, and to handle all the extra care she needed.
The Hazel/Augustus love story takes up a significant portion of this book - more than I initially expected, but was quickly resigned to. They were introduced rather early on the story and then proceeded to fell in love with each other rather rapidly.(show spoiler)
Augustus is a pretty boy who, thankfully, seems to have some brain cells in his head, He says pretentious things like "my thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations." But then there are times when he sounded like a teenage FANGIRL. Example:(show spoiler)
There's this declaration of always/forever that fictional characters always make to each other - this promise of infinity that is a paradox in itself, because nothing lasts forever and everything ends, and they know this, especially characters in a story like this, who knows that forever is a beautiful lie, a promise that cannot be kept. They promise it anyway, and I don't get it, because Death will inevitably separate them even if nothing else does.