There was so much frenzy surrounding this book and the movie, that I finally decided to pick up. I had my reservations about it, as the topic of cancer is very sensitive for me personally, and I was very wary. I worried that the book would be cheesy, or would gloss over some aspects of the disease, or that it would be just too difficult to read.
Somehow (and I still don't know how) I managed to avoid any spoilers regarding the ending. That is why what happened at the end, that death, came as a total surprise to me. (Yes, I must have been living under the rock, because I didn't see that one coming.)
I am not going to go into many details, as pretty much everyone knows what this book is about. Let me tell you about the things that I liked about this book.
When you face something as scary and huge as a terminal illness, after the shock wears off, you sort of accept it and it becomes part of your life. You become, for the better word, desensitized. You joke about it, you joke about death, about dying. Perhaps, it is a way for our brains to cope with it. This part of the book, from the perspective of all characters, was written beautifully. I know that some may think that it was too "teenager-ly", too playful or exaggerated at times, but it is not. This is how it is. This is how teenagers would be dealing with it (with laughter and hookups and egging somebody's car). Or anyone else for that matter.
Descriptions of medical procedures, hospitals, emotional strain and exhaustion of both the main character and her parents - they were described to the point. When you see someone you love dying from cancer and you know you can't do anything to help them, and everything which is done, medically, just prolongs the torture - yes, at some point you just think: God, I just want this to be over with.
A trip to Amsterdam was an unexpected treat, as I love that city.
Being disappointed in someone whom you used to admire tugged at my heart strings no less than the rest of the novel.
The book has several great passages that I saw quoted before, so kudos to John Green for not only breaking the hearts of teenagers but also creating memes.
I liked the book. I didn't love it, because I can't imagine ever loving a book about cancer. It was well written, although I admit that at some points I kept thinking that it was a bit too commercial novel. Nothing about this book could do wrong for readers, and it by all means just HAD to be made into a movie. I am not saying there is anything wrong in writing such a book (or recognizing the gap in the market for this sort of a story), but I admit that at certain tear jerking times I was almost rolling my eyes, as those moments were way too predictable for me.
I was a bit indecisive regarding the rating, as it is a good book, and I strongly recommend it for teens (not because of the love drama, but because the matters of life and death are important), but I just can't give it the top rating.
Rating: 4/5 stars.