January 2013, Puffin
336 pages, Paperback
Themes: terminal illness, chronic health issues, physical difficulties, humour (both normal & medical), wanting to be normal, group therapy sessions, the value of friendships, keeping secrets, humanity, compassion, feeling lost, fear, tragedy, uncertainty of the future, being different, occasional swearing (I think...), teen romance, tissues mostly definitely needed
Summary from Puffin
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Initially I wasn't that keen on Hazel because she seemed quite different to me in her outlook on life. However, the medical issues she has to deal with on a daily basis, the fear of what might happen in the future and the desire to be 'normal' really touched my heart. Anyone with chronic illness, especially if it's terminal or incurable will see their own lives mirrored in Hazel's. Sometimes her thoughts and feelings mirrored my own so accurately I was taken by surprise.
Hazel is more of a rebel than I am, and I liked getting into her mind as to why she did certain things. Having Gus in her life makes her approach life differently - as well as providing several plot twists that I didn't see coming. How Hazel's family and 'normal' friends treat her is an accurate insight into what life is like if you have medical issues. Be sure to have a stock of tissues as this 9/10 read has several tear producing sections.
You can find out more on John's website.
For life of another teen with cancer try The Look by Sophia Bennett