The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm going with a 5 even though I had some problems with the ending.
If Hazel's take on life, life with cancer and how cancer is a byproduct of dying doesn't bring you to tears and laughter, well, there's something wrong with you. At times she's preternaturally wise, but most of the time she's one of those intelligent, loves words teenagers who has spent three years living with "really sucky lungs" and battling for most of her breaths. Why didn't she just give up? Because despite her parents urging her to do so, she overheard her mother saying "I won't be a mom anymore" and (I think) just couldn't let go.
And it's lucky she didn't, because then she wouldn't have met Augustus, her apparent soul mate. Together they play rather violent video games, watch "V for Vendetta", go on picnics and fall in love. They even share Augustus' Wish (it's really Hazel's) and go to Amsterdam to meet the author of Hazel's favorite book. And here's where the book failed me: Peter Van Houten was supposed to hold the answers to Hazel's questions about An Imperial Affliction but turns out to be a mean alcoholic. Too cliche for me.
Ditto when Van Houten comes to Indianapolis, and at the very end, when his former assistant Lidewij goes to his home to see if she can find Augustus' writing. That the book didn't actually end the way I thought it might was a wonderful relief (I like being surprised). The writing and the humor make what could be an otherwise maudlin book a wonderfully upbeat read.