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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but. ALSO BY JOHN GREEN Looking for Alaska An Abundance of Katherines Paper Towns Will Grayson, Will Grayson W ITH DAVID LEVITHAN DUTTON BOOKS. The Fault in our Stars John Green. Article (PDF Available) in British Journal of General Practice 63() · December with 93,

I like watching you sleep. You are probably wondering why you are eating a bad cheese sandwich and drinking orange juice and why I am wearing the jersey of a Dutchman who played a sport I have come to loathe. It gets older as you get closer to the center. I thought maybe it was how orchestrated the whole thing had been: The symbolic resonances are endless, Hazel Grace.

From, like, hideous romance to pretentious fiction to poetry. This tells me so much. Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.

An Imperial Affliction was my book, in the way my body was my body and my thoughts were my thoughts. Even so, I told Augustus. Augustus spun around to a stack of books beneath his bedside table. He grabbed a paperback and a pen.

The Fault In Our Stars

I laughed and took it. Our hands kind of got muddled together in the book handoff, and then he was holding my hand.

He stood, and pulled me up with him, and did not let go of my hand until we reached the stairs. It was kind of a boy movie. I sat on the couch for a while as Augustus searched for his keys. This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries, but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate.

I kept glancing over at his leg, or the place where his leg had been, trying to imagine what the fake leg looked like. He probably cared about my oxygen. Illness repulses. As I pulled up outside of my house, Augustus clicked the radio off. The air thickened. He was probably thinking about kissing me, and I was definitely thinking about kissing him. Wondering if I wanted to. I put the car in park and looked over at him. He really was beautiful. I felt shy looking at him. I could not match the intensity of his waterblue eyes.

There was an endearing nervousness in his voice. I smiled. I grabbed the book from the center console. Spoiler alert: The price of dawn is blood. So I got up late the next morning, a Thursday. Mom hooked me up to a portable tank and then reminded me I had class. I mean the book. I shrugged. I brought some paperwork.

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Anyway, time to face the day, young lady. Also, today is. My mom was really super into celebration maximization. That was an idea. My class was American Literature, a lecture about Frederick Douglass in a mostly empty auditorium, and it was incredibly difficult to stay awake.

Forty minutes into the ninety-minute class, Kaitlyn texted back. Happy Half Birthday. Castleton at 3: Kaitlyn had the kind of packed social life that needs to be scheduled down to the minute.

I responded: Sounds good. Mom drove me directly from school to the bookstore attached to the mall, where I purchased both Midnight Dawns and Requiem for Mayhem , the first two sequels to The Price of Dawn, and then I walked over to the huge food court and bought a Diet Coke. It was 3: I watched these kids playing in the pirate-ship indoor playground while I read.

There was this tunnel that these two kids kept crawling through over and over and they never seemed to get tired, which made me think of Augustus Waters and the existentially fraught free throws. Medical stuff, probably. The paperwork was endless. She saw me the moment I raised my hand, flashed her very white and newly straightened teeth at me, and headed over.

She wore a knee-length charcoal coat that fit perfectly and sunglasses that dominated her face. She pushed them up onto the top of her head as she leaned down to hug me. Everyone accepted it. How are you? Is that diet? She sipped through the straw. Some of the boys have become downright edible. Like who? But enough about me. What is new in the Hazelverse?

Shall we shop? I ended up just picking out some flip-flops so that I could have something to buy, and then I sat down on one of the benches opposite a bank of shoes and watched Kaitlyn snake her way through the aisles, shopping with the kind of intensity and focus that one usually associates with professional chess.

I liked my mom, but her perpetual nearness sometimes made me feel weirdly nervous. And I liked Kaitlyn, too. I really did. But three years removed from proper full-time schoolic exposure to my peers, I felt a certain unbridgeable distance between us. For one thing, there was no through.

So I excused myself on the grounds of pain and fatigue, as I often had over the years when seeing Kaitlyn or any of my other friends. In truth, it always hurt. It always hurt not to breathe like a normal person, incessantly reminding your lungs to be lungs, forcing yourself to accept as unsolvable the clawing scraping inside-out ache of underoxygenation. I was just choosing among truths. I found a bench surrounded by an Irish Gifts store, the Fountain Pen Emporium, and a baseball-cap outlet—a corner of the mall even Kaitlyn would never shop, and started reading Midnight Dawns.

It featured a sentence-to-corpse ratio of nearly 1: There were always more bad guys to kill and more good guys to save. New wars started even before the old ones were won. Twenty pages from the end of Midnight Dawns, things started to look pretty bleak for Mayhem when he was shot seventeen times while attempting to rescue a blond, American hostage from the Enemy. But as a reader, I did not despair. The war effort would go on without him.

There could—and would—be sequels starring his cohorts: These tubes give me oxygen and help me breathe. I focused on my breathing as Jackie handed the tubes back to me.

I gave them a quick swipe with my T-shirt, laced the tubes behind my ears, and put the nubbins back in place. I returned to the book, where Staff Sergeant Max Mayhem was regretting that he had but one life to give for his country, but I kept thinking about that little kid, and how much I liked her. The other thing about Kaitlyn, I guess, was that it could never again feel natural to talk to her. Anyway, I really did like being alone.

He lives. CHAPTER FOUR I went to bed a little early that night, changing into boy boxers and a T-shirt before crawling under the covers of my bed, which was queen size and pillow topped and one of my favorite places in the world. And then I started reading An Imperial Affliction for the millionth time.

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AIA is about this girl named Anna who narrates the story and her one-eyed mom, who is a professional gardener obsessed with tulips, and they have a normal lower-middle- class life in a little central California town until Anna gets this rare blood cancer.

Like, in cancer books, the cancer person starts a charity that raises money to fight cancer, right? Also, Anna is honest about all of it in a way no one else really is: Throughout the book, she refers to herself as the side effect, which is just totally correct. Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible.

So as the story goes on, she gets sicker, the treatments and disease racing to kill her, and her mom falls in love with this Dutch tulip trader Anna calls the Dutch Tulip Man. I understood the story ended because Anna died or got too sick to write and this midsentence thing was supposed to reflect how life really ends and whatever, but there were characters other than Anna in the story, and it seemed unfair that I would never find out what happened to them.

AIA was the only book Peter Van Houten had written, and all anyone seemed to know about him was that after the book came out he moved from the United States to the Netherlands and became kind of reclusive. As I reread that night, I kept getting distracted imagining Augustus Waters reading the same words.

Then I remembered my promise to call him after reading The Price of Dawn, so I found his number on its title page and texted him. Price of Dawn review: Too many bodies. Not enough adjectives. He replied a minute later: So I called. So, okay, is the tulip guy a crook? When can I see you? Flirting was new to me, but I liked it.

This old woman gave a lecture wherein she managed to talk for ninety minutes about Sylvia Plath without ever once quoting a single word of Sylvia Plath. When I got out of class, Mom was idling at the curb in front of the building.

We drove over to the Castleton theater and watched a 3-D movie about talking gerbils. It was kind of funny, actually. When I got out of the movie, I had four text messages from Augustus. Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something. Hazel Grace, tell me I have not reached the end of this book. Call me when you can. So when I got home I went out into the backyard and sat down on this rusting latticed patio chair and called him. It was a cloudy day, typical Indiana: Our little backyard was dominated by my childhood swing set, which was looking pretty waterlogged and pathetic.

Augustus picked up on the third ring. Like the death cries of some injured animal. Gus turned his attention to Isaac. Does Support Group Hazel make this better or worse? Even though it was a geographic inconvenience, I really liked Holliday Park. When I was a little kid, I would wade in the White River with my dad and there was always this great moment when he would throw me up in the air, just toss me away from him, and I would reach out my arms as I flew and he would reach out his arms, and then we would both see that our arms were not going to touch and no one was going to catch me, and it would kind of scare the shit out of both of us in the best possible way, and then I would legs-flailingly hit the water and then come up for air uninjured and the current would bring me back to him as I said again, Daddy, again.

Carting the tank behind me, I walked up to the door. I knocked. The sound. Can I carry your, uh, tank? Thanks, though, Mr. I was kind of scared to go down there. Listening to people howl in misery is not among my favorite pastimes. But I went. Hazel, a gentle reminder: Isaac is in the midst of a psychotic episode. They were soldiers fighting in a bombed-out modern city. I recognized the place from The Price of Dawn.

As I approached, I saw nothing unusual: Tears streamed down his reddened cheeks in a continual flow, his face a taut mask of pain.

He stared at the screen, not even glancing at me, and howled, all the while pounding away at his controller. Not even the slightest hint that he was aware of my existence.

Just the tears flowing down his face onto his black T-shirt. Augustus glanced away from the screen ever so briefly. He just wants to cry and play Counterinsurgence 2: The Price of Dawn. If you have any sage words of feminine advice.

Augustus nodded at the screen. Moments later, tracer bullets started whizzing over their heads. Augustus sighed.

They crouched behind a wall across the street and picked off the enemy one by one. His shoulders rounded over his controller, slamming buttons, his forearms taut, veins visible. Isaac leaned toward the screen, the controller dancing in his thin-fingered hands. The waves of terrorists continued, and they mowed down every one, their shooting astonishingly precise, as it had to be, lest they fire into the school. Isaac dropped his controller in disappointment. His dismembered body exploded like a geyser and the screen went red.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a cigarette, and shoved it between his teeth. Isaac was wailing again.

Augustus snapped his head back to him. He nodded, the tears not like tears so much as a quiet metronome—steady, endless. He wiped his sopping face with a sleeve.

And you do. It was like I was already gone, you know? How can you just break the promise? Isaac shot me a look. But you keep the promise anyway. Love is keeping the promise anyway. But I thought that if true love did exist, that was a pretty good definition of it. And she promised. She promised me always. Isaac chased after the chair and kicked it again.

Kick the shit out of that chair! Augustus looked over at me, cigarette still in his mouth, and half smiled. Isaac was still throttling the wall with the pillow.

Instead, he was squinting at Isaac. He walked over to Isaac and grabbed him by the shoulders. Try something that breaks. Isaac stomped on the trophy. The poor, mangled bodies of plastic basketballers littered the carpeted ground: Isaac kept attacking the trophies, jumping on them with both feet, screaming, breathless, sweaty, until finally he collapsed on top of the jagged trophic remnants.

Augustus stepped toward him and looked down. I had called him on the Night of the Broken Trophies, so per tradition it was his turn to call. I went about my life: I met Kaitlyn and her cute but frankly not Augustinian boyfriend for coffee one afternoon; I ingested my recommended daily allowance of Phalanxifor; I attended classes three mornings that week at MCC; and every night, I sat down to dinner with my mom and dad.

Sunday night, we had pizza with green peppers and broccoli. I banished the thought as best I could. I had a PET scan scheduled in a couple weeks. Nothing to be gained by worrying between now and then. And yet still I worried. I liked being a person. I wanted to keep at it. Worry is yet another side effect of dying.

I grabbed my phone from my purse on the kitchen counter and checked my recent calls. Augustus Waters. I went out the back door into the twilight. I could see the swing set, and I thought about walking out there and swinging while I talked to him, but it seemed pretty far away given that eating tired me. That boy. Reading it, I just kept feeling like, like. I totally get it, like, I get that she died or whatever.

It portrays death truthfully. You die in the middle of your life, in the middle of a sentence. But I do—God, I do really want to know what happens to everyone else. But he, yeah, he never answers. You said he is a recluse? Vliegenthart this sixth of April, from the United States of America, insofar as geography can be said to exist in our triumphantly digitized contemporaneity.

I found her. I emailed her. She gave him the email. He responded via her email account. Keep reading. Vliegenthart into a series of 1s and 0s to travel through the insipid web which has lately ensnared our species, so I apologize for any errors or omissions that may result.

What do you mean by meant? Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortably as possible? What should a story seek to emulate, Augustus? A ringing alarm? A call to arms? A morphine drip? Of course, like all interrogation of the universe, this line of inquiry inevitably reduces us to asking what it means to be human and whether—to borrow a phrase from the angst-encumbered sixteen-year-olds you no doubt revile— there is a point to it all.

But to answer your question: No, I have not written anything else, nor will I. I do not feel that continuing to share my thoughts with readers would benefit either them or me. Thank you again for your generous email. I spent the next two hours writing an email to Peter Van Houten. Dear Mr. My friend Augustus Waters, who read An Imperial Affliction at my recommendation, just received an email from you at this address.

I hope you will not mind that Augustus shared that email with me. Van Houten, I understand from your email to Augustus that you are not planning to publish any more books. I never have to worry whether your next book will live up to the magnificent perfection of the original.

Or at least you got me right. I wonder, though, if you would mind answering a couple questions I have about what happens after the end of the novel. Temple, etc. Also, is the Dutch Tulip Man a fraud or does he really love them? Do they stay together? And lastly—I realize that this is the kind of deep and thoughtful question you always hoped your readers would ask— what becomes of Sisyphus the Hamster? I know these are not important literary questions and that your book is full of important literary questions, but I would just really like to know.

It took him a minute to find the book, but finally he read the quote to me. God, Mayhem grits his teeth a lot in these books. My kissing—all prediagnosis—had been uncomfortable and slobbery, and on some level it always felt like kids playing at being grown. But of course it had been a while. I almost felt like he was there in my room with me, but in a way it was better, like I was not in my room and he was not in his, but instead we were together in some invisible and tenuous third space that could only be visited on the phone.

It was Augustus who finally hung up. Augustus assured me it was because my email was better and required a more thoughtful response, that Van Houten was busy writing answers to my questions, and that brilliant prose took time. But still I worried. Isaac out of surgery.

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

It went well. That afternoon, Mom consented to loan me the car so I could drive down to Memorial to check in on Isaac. Um, Support Group Hazel? Night-of-the-broken-trophies Hazel? Hi, Support Group Hazel. Come over here so I can examine your face with my hands and see deeper into your soul than a sighted person ever could. I pulled a chair up and sat down, took his hand. Then nothing for a while. Isaac bit his nails, and I could see some blood on the corners of a couple of his cuticles.

Fourteen months is a long time. God, that hurts. The nurse, having finished the bandage change, stepped back. Did she seriously say that? I mean is this my freaking arm or a dartboard? No condescending voice. There might be a little ouchie. I just want the hell out of this place. His mouth tightened. I could see the pain. Is that crazy? The whole cancer thing. The medicine working. He was here when I woke up.

Took off school. He nodded a little. And then, like the bitch I am: I went downstairs to the tiny windowless gift shop and asked the decrepit volunteer sitting on a stool behind a cash register what kind of flowers smell the strongest. Same smell, and lots of it. The carnations were cheaper, so I grabbed a dozen yellow ones.

They cost fourteen dollars. I went back into the room; his mom was there, holding his hand. She was young and really pretty. These are for him. I shook my head no.

I talked to him a little before, when they were doing the bandages or whatever. She nodded. I left. The next morning I woke up early and checked my email first thing.

Dear Ms. Lancaster, I fear your faith has been misplaced—but then, faith usually is. I cannot answer your questions, at least not in writing, because to write out such answers would constitute a sequel to An Imperial Affliction, which you might publish or otherwise share on the network that has replaced the brains of your generation.

There is the telephone, but then you might record the conversation. Alas, dear Hazel, I could never answer such questions except in person, and you are there, while I am here. That noted, I must confess that the unexpected receipt of your correspondence via Ms. Vliegenthart has delighted me: What a wondrous thing to know that I made something useful to you—even if that book seems so distant from me that I feel it was written by a different man altogether.

The author of that novel was so thin, so frail, so comparatively optimistic! Should you find yourself in Amsterdam, however, please do pay a visit at your leisure. I am usually home. I would even allow you a peek at my grocery lists. Still nervous, Mom knelt down to check on Philip to ensure he was condensing oxygen appropriately. Augustus Waters—style, I read him the letter in lieu of saying hello. I said nothing. I was flattered but changed the subject immediately.

Then he goes to this rehab or something for a while, but he gets to sleep at home, I think. I gotta go. I could hear his crooked smile. We Hoosiers are excessively optimistic about summer. Mom and I sat next to each other on a bench across from a goat-soap maker, a man in overalls who had to explain to every single person who walked by that yes, they were his goats, and no, goat soap does not smell like goats.

My phone rang. It was Gus, though. I knew the answer, because I am currently at your house. Well, we are on our way, I guess? See you soon. He was holding a bouquet of bright orange tulips just beginning to bloom, and wearing an Indiana Pacers jersey under his fleece, a wardrobe choice that seemed utterly out of character, although it did look quite good on him. I wanted them to be my flowers. I brushed my hair and teeth and put on some lip gloss and the smallest possible dab of perfume.

I kept looking at the flowers. They were aggressively orange, almost too orange to be pretty. When I reentered my room, I could hear people talking, so I sat on the edge of my bed for a while and listened through my hollow bedroom door: I like your artwork. Legs are heavy! The treatment options these days—it really is remarkable. Augustus stood up and leaned over to her, whispering the answer, and then held a finger to his lips.

I held it up as evidence, tilted my oxygen cart onto its front wheels, and started walking. Augustus hustled over, offering me his arm, which I took. My fingers wrapped around his biceps. Unfortunately, he insisted upon driving, so the surprise could be a surprise.

You think they liked me? Who cares, though? I thought of the PET scan. Worry is useless. I worried anyway. The only thing I could think of in this direction was the cemetery. Augustus reached into the center console, flipped open a full pack of cigarettes, and removed one. A few of them are broken near the filters, but I think this pack could easily get me to my eighteenth birthday.

Name some things that you never see in Indianapolis. He laughed. Keep going. Family-owned restaurants. Also, culture. We drove past the museum and parked right next to this basketball court filled with huge blue and red steel arcs that imagined the path of a bouncing ball.

We walked down what passes for a hill in Indianapolis to this clearing where kids were climbing all over this huge oversize skeleton sculpture.

The bones were each about waist high, and the thighbone was longer than me. My shoulder hurt. I worried the cancer had spread from my lungs. I imagined the tumor metastasizing into my own bones, boring holes into my skeleton, a slithering eel of insidious intent.

So are tulips. He unzipped it, producing an orange blanket, a pint of orange juice, and some sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap with the crusts cut off. You remember William of Orange and everything? And tomato. The tomatoes are from Mexico. In the distance, soaked in the unblemished sunlight so rare and precious in our hometown, a gaggle of kids made a skeleton into a playground, jumping back and forth among the prosthetic bones.

He was holding the unlit cigarette between his fingers, flicking at it as if to get rid of the ash. He placed it back in his mouth. Like, you just have to jump from rib cage to skull. Which means that, second, the sculpture essentially forces children to play on bones. The symbolic resonances are endless, Hazel Grace. You are probably wondering why you are eating a bad cheese sandwich and drinking orange juice and why I am wearing the jersey of a Dutchman who played a sport I have come to loathe.

The Grim Reaper was staring you in the face and the fear of dying with your Wish still in your proverbial pocket, ungranted, led you to rush toward the first Wish you could think of, and you, like so many others, chose the cold and artificial pleasures of the theme park.

But let me submit that the real heroes of the Wish Factory are the young men and women who wait like Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot and good Christian girls wait for marriage. These young heroes wait stoically and without complaint for their one true Wish to come along.

You had to be pretty sick for the Genies to hook you up with a Wish. There was all this light on his face; he had to squint to look at me, which made his nose crinkle adorably. They said Amsterdam is lovely in the beginning of May.

They proposed leaving May third and returning May seventh. My body tensed, and I think he saw it, because he pulled his hand away. I told her that the tulips and the Dutch artist and everything were all because Augustus was using his Wish to take me to Amsterdam. Maria herself. My dad understood my cancer the way I did: But my mom knew more about differentiated thyroid carcinoma in adolescents than most oncologists.

The Genies are loaded. Finally, she started to get excited, typing tasks into her phone: I kind of had a headache, so I downed a couple Advil and decided to take a nap. But I ended up just lying in bed and replaying the whole picnic with Augustus.

The gentle familiarity felt wrong, somehow. I thought maybe it was how orchestrated the whole thing had been: It all felt Romantic, but not romantic. But the truth is that I had never wanted him to kiss me, not in the way you are supposed to want these things. I mean, he was gorgeous. I was attracted to him. I thought about him in that way, to borrow a phrase from the middle school vernacular.

But the actual touch, the realized touch. It was not a move designed to elicit arousal, but it was certainly a designed move, because Augustus Waters was no improviser. So what had he been trying to convey? At some point, I realized I was Kaitlyning the encounter, so I decided to text Kaitlyn and ask for some advice.

She called immediately. The things I would do to that boy. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral. Right, you and Augustus Waters. I mean, I definitely like him. Sometimes beautiful people have ugly hands. He called it preemptive dumping. It took me a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints and forty minutes to get over that boy.

I had a postmonition. I pulled out my laptop and looked up Caroline Mathers. The physical similarities were striking: But her eyes were dark brown mine are green and her complexion was much darker—Italian or something.

Thousands of people—literally thousands—had left condolence messages for her. I was able to click through to some of her pictures. Augustus was in a bunch of the earlier ones: The most recent pictures were all of her before, when she was healthy, uploaded postmortem by friends: My healthy self looked very little like her healthy self. I kept clicking back to this one wall post, written two months ago, nine months after she died, by one of her friends.

We all miss you so much. It just never ends. It feels like we were all wounded in your battle, Caroline. I miss you. I love you. After a while, Mom and Dad announced it was time for dinner. I kept telling myself to compartmentalize, to be here now at the circular table arguably too large in diameter for three people and definitely too large for two with this soggy broccoli and a black-bean burger that all the ketchup in the world could not adequately moisten.

I told myself that imagining a met in my brain or my shoulder would not affect the invisible reality going on inside of me, and that therefore all such thoughts were wasted moments in a life composed of a definitionally finite set of such moments. I even tried to tell myself to live my best life today. Because there had not been an earthquake in Papua New Guinea that day, my parents were all hyperfocused on me, and so I could not hide this flash flood of anxiety.

I took a bite of burger. Tried to say something that a normal person whose brain was not drowning in panic would say. I tried not to think about the word wounded, which of course is a way of thinking about it. Like Caroline Mathers had been a bomb and when she blew up everyone around her was left with embedded shrapnel. Dad asked me if I was working on anything for school. She seemed annoyed about it. For me to be teenagery?

He cried a lot, my dad. I really am fine; I just want to go read for a while. So it was all like, Caroline continues to have behavioral problems. Hoping to go home on Thursday. So of course I tensed up when he touched me. To be with him was to hurt him—inevitably. I decided to text him. I wanted to avoid a whole conversation about it. Anyway, sorry. He responded a few minutes later. I wrote back. He responded: Oh, my God, stop flirting with me! I just said: My phone buzzed moments later.

I was kidding, Hazel Grace. I understand. But we both know that okay is a very flirty word. I was very tempted to respond Okay again, but I pictured him at my funeral, and that helped me text properly.

Thinking about you dying makes us sad, Hazel, but you are not a grenade. You are amazing. Except go to school. But I took stupid Bluie and kind of cuddled with him as I fell asleep. I still had one arm draped over Bluie, in fact, when I awoke just after four in the morning with an apocalyptic pain fingering out from the unreachable center of my head.

I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown. There was nothing to do: Screaming made it worse. All stimuli made it worse, actually.

The only solution was to try to unmake the world, to make it black and silent and uninhabited again, to return to the moment before the Big Bang, in the beginning when there was the Word, and to live in that vacuous uncreated space alone with the Word.

People talk about the courage of cancer patients, and I do not deny that courage. I had been poked and stabbed and poisoned for years, and still I trod on. But make no mistake: In that moment, I would have been very, very happy to die. I woke up in the ICU. There was wailing down the hall. I was alone. I hit the red call button. A nurse came in seconds later. Whereupon I started to feel pretty tired again.

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But I woke up a bit when my parents came in, crying and kissing my face repeatedly, and I reached up for them and tried to squeeze, but my everything hurt when I squeezed, and Mom and Dad told me that I did not have a brain tumor, but that my headache was caused by poor oxygenation, which was caused by my lungs swimming in fluid, a liter and a half!!!! Mom told me I was going to go home, that I really was, that I would just have to get this drained every now and again and get back on the BiPAP, this nighttime machine that forces air in and out of my crap lungs.

No new tumors. My shoulder pain had been lack-of-oxygen pain. Heart-working-too-hard pain. I liked Dr. She asked me if I wanted some ice chips, and I nodded, and then she sat at the bed with me and spooned them into my mouth. A celebrity did drugs. Politicians disagreed. A different celebrity wore a bikini that revealed a bodily imperfection. A team won a sporting event, but another team lost. You miss too much. I mumbled a thank-you. Praise God for good nurses.

I nodded. You say thanks a lot in a hospital. I tried to settle into the bed. Family only. It would take me six days to get home, six undays of staring at acoustic ceiling tile and watching television and sleeping and pain and wishing for time to pass.

I did not see Augustus or anyone other than my parents. I felt a little better each day, though: Each sleep ended to reveal a person who seemed a bit more like me. Sleep fights cancer, Regular Dr. Jim said for the thousandth time as he hovered over me one morning surrounded by a coterie of medical students.

I was beginning to think that I was the subject of some existentialist experiment in permanently delayed gratification when Dr. Maria showed up on Friday morning, sniffed around me for a minute, and told me I was good to go. A nurse came in and took out my IV. I felt untethered even though I still had the oxygen tank to carry around with me. I went into the bathroom, took my first shower in a week, got dressed, and when I got out, I was so tired I had to lie down and get my breath.

I stood up and shuffled over to one of the molded plastic chairs against the wall, tucking my tank beneath the chair. It wore me out. Dad came back with Augustus a few minutes later. His hair was messy, sweeping down over his forehead. He sat down in the blue faux-leather recliner next to my chair.

He leaned in toward me, seemingly incapable of stifling the smile. Mom and Dad left us alone, which felt awkward. My voice was smaller than I wanted it to be. I just want, like. He was so beautiful. He reached for my hand but I shook my head. Waters, I am in receipt of your electronic mail dated the 14th of April and duly impressed by the Shakespearean complexity of your tragedy. Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: What a slut time is. She screws everybody.

Shakespeare told us precious little of the man whom he entombed in his linguistic sarcophagus. Witness also that when we talk about literature, we do so in the present tense. When we speak of the dead, we are not so kind. An Imperial Affliction. Augustus once again leaves Hazel open-mouthed, when she heard about the grant from a charitable foundation, which helps kids with cancer.

This organization agrees to cover her costs and make her wish come true. Although she is happy and feels really great with Augustus, she is uncertain about their joint future , as a couple due to her illness.

As it turns out, her lungs were filled with fluid, and the body reacted, fiercely. Upon her discharge from the hospital, finds out that Augusts never left the waiting room.

He spices things up, with yet another letter from Van Houten, which is more personal than the last one. Hazel gets all worked up by the letter, and now she is firm in her decision to visit Amsterdam.

Maria with its perspective on the situation tips the balance in favor of Hazel and supports her liveness. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary? Hazel and Augustus are good to go, and the final plans are made before their trip to Amsterdam.

A simple twist of reality crushes their expectations when they find out that Van Houten is merely a drunkard and not some genius who can answer their questions. Augusts kisses Hazel, and they go back to the hotel where they make love for the first and ultimately the last time. The next day, Augustus reveals his dark secret, that cancer has returned, and spread throughout the body — the situation is dire.

Augustus takes the role of a grenade, and his charm instantly fades away, but Hazel disagrees and says that he will always be the charismatic one. He feels vulnerable and weak to take action.

Hazel starts to call him Gus and expresses her endless love towards him. Augustus health deteriorates at lightning speed , and he arranges a pre-funeral just for Isaac and Hazel to share their experiences with him. Hazel says that her love will never go away, and not even death is strong enough to keep them separated. Eight days later, Augustus passes away, and what shocks Hazel the most, is the arrival of Van Houten at the funeral.

In fact, he sent all the necessary pages to Van Houten, for him to compose the story to pay tribute to Hazel. Without pain, how could we know joy? Lidewij brings pressure to Van Houten to read all these pages and design the eulogy. His last words are — This world will hurt you, one way or the other, but you have a choice to prevent or allow such a thing.