Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16, and she has cancer. She's had cancer for four years. She's going to die of cancer, eventually, once the disease figures out how to defeat the miracle drug that's currently keeping it at bay, and even now she needs an oxygen tank constantly because her lungs just suck at being lungs. Hazel's life isn't normal; she doesn't go to school, she's not planning for a career or marriage or babies. She doesn't really even have friends, unless you count her cancer support group with its bland affirmations and its ever-growing list of casualties. But support group is where she meets Augustus Waters, a survivor himself, beautiful and brilliant and challenging. Life-changing.
This is the most gouging piece of fiction I've ever read. It's sharp, funny, painful. It's smart and provoking. I hated it, and I love it. I can't imagine ever reading it again, but I can't imagine not having it on my shelf, either.
Also, John Green lives in Indianapolis, and the novel is set in Indianapolis, and...I don't know, it was pretty nifty, reading about Hazel going to the Castleton Theater or Holliday Park. And he signed every single copy of the first printing, and so it feels, in a way, even though that first printing was over 100,000 books, very personal. Like the book was written just for me. I think it felt that way for everyone, regardless of their city of residence, because the book is. Magic.