"Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs...for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too...Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."
This story had such an impact on me, I teared up as I typed the above summary. *deep breath* Ok, here are some of the writing lessons I learned from this book:
- Humor lightens a serious mood--Obvious, I know, but the humor has to be done right. In Green's case, he created smart, funny main characters whose spunky language made me smile despite the sad subject. Hazel and Augustus joked about cancer perks. Hazel called her oxygen tank Phillip. Augustus said funny things like, "You'll find my leg under the table." Humor like this relieved pressure from the heavy story.
- A small cast of characters increases their importance--I'd guess that about 98% of this story revolved around Hazel and Augustus. It chronicled their survival, and their relationship. It wasn't watered down with multiple story lines and a huge cast. This allowed the reader to become close to the main characters. Hazel and Augustus are still on my mind.
- Create sympathetic characters with serious obstacles--For Hazel and Augustus, just living is a big deal. Augustus is an amputee. Hazel struggles for each breath, and is forced to lug around an oxygen cart. This alone created problems for them.
- Catch that phrase-Hazel and Augustus rolled their eyes when their good friend and his main squeeze gushed over each other and kept saying "Always?" "Always." For Hazel and Augustus, their own private phrase became "Okay?" "Okay." I felt like I was a third wheel in every private moment between them.
- Write a story that's bigger than the characters--This story explored leaving a mark on this world, or in some cases, leaving a scar. It was about "loving deeply and not widely." It left me thinking that one of the greatest gifts someone can give is a kind word. This book resonated.
What do you think about the above points? Have you read this book? If so, what was your opinion?