Written by John Green
Published by Dutton Books, 2012
2014-2015 Winner - Young Adult
Hazel Green is a smart and sardonic sixteen-year-old girl who also has terminal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. At a support group that she is forced by her parents to attend, she meets handsome, sexy, and witty Augustus Waters, a former basketball star who lost his leg to osteosarcoma but is now in remission. Hazel shares her favorite book with Gus, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, about a girl who has cancer, and they both want to know why the book ends so abruptly. Augustus gets The Genie Foundation to sponsor their trip to Amsterdam in order to meet Mr. Van Houten so they can learn what happens to the characters in his book.
The story deals bluntly with the medical realities of cancer, but Gus and Hazel’s story is deeply affecting because these young lovers provide love and support to each other in the midst of the physical humiliations and emotional trauma of cancer. They experience their forever within a limited number of days, and readers will treasure the glimpse of true love provided by John Green.
Meet the Author
John Green was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, but he grew up in Orlando, Florida. When he was 15, he elected to attend a boarding school, Lake Highland Preparatory outside of Birmingham, Alabama. This school became the main setting for his first young adult novel, Looking for Alaska, about a smart, sensitive boarding school student who gets bullied. Looking for Alaska won the highest prize for young adult literature--the Printz Award. Mr. Green graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and Religious Studies. After college, he worked as a student chaplain for five months in a children’s hospital, where he counseled dying children and their families. He then moved to Chicago and enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School, intending to become an Episcopal priest. Instead, he found a job at a book-review magazine, Booklist, and an editor there encouraged him to write and publish his fiction. Mr. Green has written five novels that currently have 13.5 million copies in print in North America. His writing has won a number of awards, including the Children’s Choice Book Award for Best Teen Book of the Year in 2013 for The Fault of Our Stars.
John Green currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife, four-year-old son Henry, one-year-old daughter Alice, and West Highland white terrier “Willy.” John Green and his wife returned to live in Indianapolis seven years ago so that his wife could work as a curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. They decided to stay, and Mr. Green says he likes living in Indianapolis because it is a very American city, in the best ways and the worst ways. Today, his wife Sarah has an office down the hall from his, where she works on the do-it-yourself art show entitled “The Art Assignment.” John Green’s day job is not writing, but rather making online videos, including “Crash Course” (an animation-heavy show about literature, history, and science) and “Mental Floss” (in which Mr. Green shares weird facts on a variety of diverse subjects, from dogs to quirky museums). He sometimes concludes his videos with his catch phrase--“Don’t forget to be awesome” or more simply “DFTBA.” Two million subscribers follow the blog he writes with his younger brother Hank, “Vlogbrothers”. His fans describe themselves as “Nerdfighters,” and the fans of The Fault in Our Stars have adopted the name of “Fault Fanatics.” You can follow John Green on Twitter (@realjohngreen).
- If you could meet with the author of your favorite book, what questions would you ask? What would you want to know about that book?
- If you found out you were dying from cancer, what would you wish for? Why?
- Have you ever had a close friend or someone you love die? What support can you offer to someone you love whom is dying? How should death be approached?
- When should you have your first sexual encounter? How relevant are age, length of relationship, strength of emotion, possibility of the relationship continuing, and the wishes of your parents?
- Is an intimate relationship necessary to show someone you love him or her?
- What is an anachronism? What are some that you could live by?
Dealing with cancer
McGuire, Kevin John. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. GRIN Verlag, 2013.
Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The Emperor of All Maladies. Scribner, 2001.
Russell, Jesse. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Books on Demand, 2012.
William Carlos Williams
Books with other poems and writings of William Carlos Williams:
Bryant, Jen. A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2008.
Levine, Gail Carson. Forgive Me, I Meant to Do it: False Apology Poems. HarperCollins Publishers, 2012.
MacGowan, Christopher (editor or poetry collection). Poetry for Young People: William Carlos Williams. Sterling Publishing Company, 2004.
Websites for other poetry, as well as the poems of William Carlos Williams:
Books about William Shakespeare:
Alike, Alike. William Shakespeare & the Globe. HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.
Broach, Elise. Shakespeare’s Secret. Henry Holt, 2005.
Rosen, Michael. Shakespeare: His Work and his World. Candlewick Press, 2006.
Schmidt, Gary. The Wednesday Wars. Clarion Books, 2007.
Shakespeare, William. William Shakespeare. Waxkeep Publishing, 2013.
For more information, please check the 2014-2015 Resource Guide - Young Adult.