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The beloved, #1 global bestseller by John Green, tác giả of The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All the Way Down“John Green is one of the best writers alive.” –E. Lockhart, #1 bestselling tác giả of We Were Liars“The greatest romance story of this decade.″ –Entertainment Weekly#1 New York Times Bestseller • #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller • #1 USA Today Bestseller • #1 International BestsellerDespite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid tư vấn Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.From John Green, #1 bestselling tác giả of The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All the Way Down, The Fault in Our Stars is insightful, bold, irreverent, & raw. It brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, & tragic business of being alive và in love.

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John Green
 is the award-winning, #1 bestselling tác giả of books including Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down. His books have received many accolades, including a Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, & an Edgar Award. John has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize & was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is also the writer và host of the critically acclaimed podcast The Anthropocene Reviewed. With his brother, Hank, John has co-created many online clip projects, including Vlogbrothers and the educational channel Crash Course. He lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit John online at johngreenbooks.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONELate in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over & over, ate infrequently, & devoted quite a bit of my abundant không lấy phí time lớn thinking about death.

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or trang web or whatever, they always menu depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.) But my mom believed I required treatment, so she took me to lớn see my Regular Doctor Jim, who agreed that I was veritably swimming in a paralyzing and totally clinical depression, và that therefore my meds should be adjusted and also I should attend a weekly support Group.

This tư vấn Group featured a rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.

The tư vấn Group, of course, was depressing as hell. It met every Wednesday in the basement of a stone-walled Episcopal church shaped lượt thích a cross. We all sat in a circle right in the middle of the cross, where the two boards would have met, where the heart of Jesus would have been.

I noticed this because Patrick, the support Group Leader & only person over eighteen in the room, talked about the heart of Jesus every freaking meeting, all about how we, as young cancer survivors, were sitting right in Christ’s very sacred heart & whatever.

So here’s how it went in God’s heart: The six or seven or ten of us walked/wheeled in, grazed at a decrepit selection of cookies & lemonade, sat down in the Circle of Trust, và listened khổng lồ Patrick recount for the thousandth time his depressingly miserable life story—how he had cancer in his balls and they thought he was going lớn die but he didn’t die and now here he is, a full-grown adult in a church basement in the 137th nicest city in America, divorced, addicted to video games, mostly friendless, eking out a meager living by exploiting his cancertastic past, slowly working his way toward a master’s degree that will not improve his career prospects, waiting, as we all do, for the sword of Damocles to lớn give him the relief that he escaped lo those many years ago when cancer took both of his nuts but spared what only the most generous soul would hotline his life.

AND YOU TOO MIGHT BE SO LUCKY!

Then we introduced ourselves: Name. Age. Diagnosis. & how we’re doing today. I’m Hazel, I’d say when they’d get to lớn me. Sixteen. Thyroid originally but with an impressive & long-settled satellite colony in my lungs. & I’m doing okay.

Once we got around the circle, Patrick always asked if anyone wanted khổng lồ share. & then began the circle jerk of support: everyone talking about fighting & battling và winning and shrinking & scanning. To lớn be fair to lớn Patrick, he let us talk about dying, too. But most of them weren’t dying. Most would live into adulthood, as Patrick had.

(Which meant there was quite a lot of competitiveness about it, with everybody wanting lớn beat not only cancer itself, but also the other people in the room. Like, I realize that this is irrational, but when they tell you that you have, say, a trăng tròn percent chance of living five years, the math kicks in và you figure that’s one in five…so you look around and think, as any healthy person would: I gotta outlast four of these bastards.)

The only redeeming facet of tư vấn Group was this kid named Isaac, a long-faced, skinny guy with straight blond hair swept over one eye.

And his eyes were the problem. He had some fantastically improbable eye cancer. One eye had been cut out when he was a kid, và now he wore the kind of thick glasses that made his eyes (both the real one and the glass one) preternaturally huge, lượt thích his whole head was basically just this giả eye & this real eye staring at you. From what I could gather on the rare occasions when Isaac shared with the group, a recurrence had placed his remaining eye in mortal peril.

Isaac và I communicated almost exclusively through sighs. Each time someone discussed anticancer diets or snorting ground-up shark fin or whatever, he’d glance over at me and sigh ever so slightly. I’d shake my head microscopically & exhale in response.

•••

So support Group blew, and after a few weeks, I grew to be rather kicking-and-screaming about the whole affair. In fact, on the Wednesday I made the acquaintance of Augustus Waters, I tried my màn chơi best to get out of tư vấn Group while sitting on the couch with my mom in the third leg of a twelve-hour marathon of the previous season’s America’s Next đứng đầu Model, which admittedly I had already seen, but still.

Me: “I refuse to attend tư vấn Group.”

Mom: “One of the symptoms of depression is disinterest in activities.”

Me: “Please just let me watch America’s Next vị trí cao nhất Model. It’s an activity.”

Mom: “Television is a passivity.”

Me: “Ugh, Mom, please.”

Mom: “Hazel, you’re a teenager. You’re not a little kid anymore. You need khổng lồ make friends, get out of the house, & live your life.”

Me: “If you want me to lớn be a teenager, don’t send me to support Group. Buy me a fake ID so I can go lớn clubs, drink vodka, and take pot.”

Mom: “You don’t take pot, for starters.”

Me: “See, that’s the kind of thing I’d know if you got me a kém chất lượng ID.”

Mom: “You’re going to tư vấn Group.”

Me: “UGGGGGGGGGGGGG.”

Mom: “Hazel, you deserve a life.”

That shut me up, although I failed to see how attendance at support Group met the definition of life. Still, I agreed to lớn go—after negotiating the right khổng lồ record the 1.5 episodes of ANTM I’d be missing.

I went to support Group for the same reason that I’d once allowed nurses with a mere eighteen months of graduate education lớn poison me with exotically named chemicals: I wanted to make my parents happy. There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, & that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.

•••

Mom pulled into the circular driveway behind the church at 4:56. I pretended to fiddle with my oxygen tank for a second just to lớn kill time.

“Do you want me to lớn carry it in for you?”

“No, it’s fine,” I said. The cylindrical green tank only weighed a few pounds, và I had this little steel cart to lớn wheel it around behind me. It delivered two liters of oxygen lớn me each minute through a cannula, a transparent tube that split just beneath my neck, wrapped behind my ears, & then reunited in my nostrils. The contraption was necessary because my lungs sucked at being lungs.

“I love you,” she said as I got out.

“You too, Mom. See you at six.”

“Make friends!” she said through the rolled-down window as I walked away.

I didn’t want khổng lồ take the elevator because taking the elevator is a Last Days kind of activity at support Group, so I took the stairs. I grabbed a cookie & poured some lemonade into a Dixie cup and then turned around.

A boy was staring at me.

I was quite sure I’d never seen him before. Long and leanly muscular, he dwarfed the molded plastic elementary school chair he was sitting in. Mahogany hair, straight & short. He looked my age, maybe a year older, and he sat with his tailbone against the edge of the chair, his posture aggressively poor, one hand half in a pocket of dark jeans.

I looked away, suddenly conscious of my myriad insufficiencies. I was wearing old jeans, which had once been tight but now sagged in weird places, & a yellow T-shirt advertising a band I didn’t even like anymore. Also my hair: I had this pageboy haircut, và I hadn’t even bothered to, like, brush it. Furthermore, I had ridiculously fat chipmunked cheeks, a side effect of treatment. I looked lượt thích a normally proportioned person with a balloon for a head. This was not even lớn mention the cankle situation. And yet—I cut a glance lớn him, và his eyes were still on me.

It occurred lớn me why they điện thoại tư vấn it eye contact.

I walked into the circle and sat down next to lớn Isaac, two seats away from the boy. I glanced again. He was still watching me.

Look, let me just say it: He was hot. A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly và it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy…well.

I pulled out my phone và clicked it so it would display the time: 4:59. The circle filled in with the unlucky twelve-to-eighteens, và then Patrick started us out with the serenity prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to lớn change the things I can, & the wisdom to lớn know the difference. The guy was still staring at me. I felt rather blushy.

Finally, I decided that the proper strategy was lớn stare back. Boys bởi not have a monopoly on the Staring Business, after all. So I looked him over as Patrick acknowledged for the thousandth time his ball-lessness etc., & soon it was a staring contest. After a while the boy smiled, và then finally his xanh eyes glanced away. When he looked back at me, I flicked my eyebrows up lớn say, I win.

He shrugged. Patrick continued và then finally it was time for the introductions. “Isaac, perhaps you’d like to go first today. I know you’re facing a challenging time.”

“Yeah,” Isaac said. “I’m Isaac. I’m seventeen. & it’s looking lượt thích I have to lớn get surgery in a couple weeks, after which I’ll be blind. Not lớn complain or anything because I know a lot of us have it worse, but yeah, I mean, being blind does sort of suck. My girlfriend helps, though. And friends like Augustus.” He nodded toward the boy, who now had a name. “So, yeah,” Isaac continued. He was looking at his hands, which he’d folded into each other lượt thích the đứng đầu of a tepee. “There’s nothing you can vì chưng about it.”

“We’re here for you, Isaac,” Patrick said. “Let Isaac hear it, guys.” và then we all, in a monotone, said, “We’re here for you, Isaac.”

Michael was next. He was twelve. He had leukemia. He’d always had leukemia. He was okay. (Or so he said. He’d taken the elevator.)

Lida was sixteen, & pretty enough to be the object of the hot boy’s eye. She was a regular—in a long remission from appendiceal cancer, which I had not previously known existed. She said—as she had every other time I’d attended support Group—that she felt strong, which felt like bragging khổng lồ me as the oxygen-drizzling nubs tickled my nostrils.

There were five others before they got to him. He smiled a little when his turn came. His voice was low, smoky, & dead sexy. “My name is Augustus Waters,” he said. “I’m seventeen. I had a little cảm ứng of osteosarcoma a year and a half ago, but I’m just here today at Isaac’s request.”

“And how are you feeling?” asked Patrick.

“Oh, I’m grand.” Augustus Waters smiled with a corner of his mouth. “I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.”

When it was my turn, I said, “My name is Hazel. I’m sixteen. Thyroid with mets in my lungs. I’m okay.”

The hour proceeded apace: Fights were recounted, battles won amid wars sure khổng lồ be lost; hope was clung to; families were both celebrated and denounced; it was agreed that friends just didn’t get it; tears were shed; comfort proffered. Neither Augustus Waters nor I spoke again until Patrick said, “Augustus, perhaps you’d like to tóm tắt your fears with the group.”

“My fears?”

“Yes.”

“I fear oblivion,” he said without a moment’s pause. “I fear it like the proverbial blind man who’s afraid of the dark.”

“Too soon,” Isaac said, cracking a smile.

“Was that insensitive?” Augustus asked. “I can be pretty blind to other people’s feelings.”

Isaac was laughing, but Patrick raised a chastening finger and said, “Augustus, please. Let’s return to lớn you andyour struggles. You said you fear oblivion?”

“I did,” Augustus answered.

Patrick seemed lost. “Would, uh, would anyone lượt thích to speak to lớn that?”

I hadn’t been in proper school in three years. My parents were my two best friends. My third best friend was an author who did not know I existed. I was a fairly shy person—not the hand-raising type.

And yet, just this once, I decided to speak. I half raised my hand & Patrick, his delight evident, immediately said, “Hazel!” I was, I’m sure he assumed, opening up. Becoming Part Of The Group.

I looked over at Augustus Waters, who looked back at me. You could almost see through his eyes they were so blue. “There will come a time,” I said, “when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left lớn remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did và built & wrote và thought & discovered will be forgotten and all of this”—I gestured encompassingly—“will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon và maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, và there will be time after. Và if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

I’d learned this from my aforementioned third best friend, Peter Van Houten, the reclusive author of An Imperial Affliction, the book that was as close a thing as I had khổng lồ a Bible. Peter Van Houten was the only person I’d ever come across who seemed to (a) understand what it’s like to be dying, and (b) not have died.

After I finished, there was quite a long period of silence as I watched a smile spread all the way across Augustus’s face—not the little crooked smile of the boy trying to lớn be sexy while he stared at me, but his real smile, too big for his face. “Goddamn,” Augustus said quietly. “Aren’t you something else.”

Neither of us said anything for the rest of tư vấn Group. At the end, we all had khổng lồ hold hands, và Patrick led us in a prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, we are gathered here in Your heart, literally in Your heart, as cancer survivors. You and You alone know us as we know ourselves. Guide us to life & the Light through our times of trial. We pray for Isaac’s eyes, for Michael’s & Jamie’s blood, for Augustus’s bones, for Hazel’s lungs, for James’s throat. We pray that You might heal us & that we might feel Your love, & Your peace, which passes all understanding. Và we remember in our hearts those whom we knew và loved who have gone trang chủ to you: Maria và Kade và Joseph và Haley and Abigail & Angelina and Taylor & Gabriel and…”

It was a long list. The world contains a lot of dead people. Và while Patrick droned on, reading the danh mục from a sheet of paper because it was too long to memorize, I kept my eyes closed, trying lớn think prayerfully but mostly imagining the day when my name would find its way onto that list, all the way at the kết thúc when everyone had stopped listening.

When Patrick was finished, we said this stupid mantra together—LIVING OUR BEST LIFE TODAY—and it was over. Augustus Waters pushed himself out of his chair & walked over lớn me. His gait was crooked lượt thích his smile. He towered over me, but he kept his distance so I wouldn’t have khổng lồ crane my neck lớn look him in the eye. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Hazel.”

“No, your full name.”

“Um, Hazel Grace Lancaster.” He was just about lớn say something else when Isaac walked up. “Hold on,” Augustus said, raising a finger, & turned lớn Isaac. “That was actually worse than you made it out to lớn be.”

“I told you it was bleak.”

“Why vì chưng you bother with it?”

“I don’t know. It kind of helps?”

Augustus leaned in so he thought I couldn’t hear. “She’s a regular?” I couldn’t hear Isaac’s comment, but Augustus responded, “I’ll say.” He clasped Isaac by both shoulders và then took a half step away from him. “Tell Hazel about clinic.”

Isaac leaned a hand against the snack table và focused his huge eye on me. “Okay, so I went into clinic this morning, and I was telling my surgeon that I’d rather be deaf than blind. And he said, ‘It doesn’t work that way,’ và I was, like, ‘Yeah, I realize it doesn’t work that way; I’m just saying I’d rather be deaf than blind if I had the choice, which I realize I don’t have,’ và he said, ‘Well, the good news is that you won’t be deaf,’ & I was like, ‘Thank you for explaining that my eye cancer isn’t going khổng lồ make me deaf. I feel so fortunate that an intellectual giant like yourself would deign lớn operate on me.’”

“He sounds like a winner,” I said. “I’m gonna try khổng lồ get me some eye cancer just so I can make this guy’s acquaintance.”

“Good luck with that. All right, I should go. Monica’s waiting for me. I gotta look at her a lot while I can.”

“Counterinsurgence tomorrow?” Augustus asked.

“Definitely.” Isaac turned and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time.

Augustus Waters turned lớn me. “Literally,” he said.

“Literally?” I asked.

“We are literally in the heart of Jesus,” he said. “I thought we were in a church basement, but we are literally in the heart of Jesus.”

“Someone should tell Jesus,” I said. “I mean, it’s gotta be dangerous, storing children with cancer in your heart.”

“I would tell Him myself,” Augustus said, “but unfortunately I am literally stuck inside of His heart, so He won’t be able lớn hear me.” I laughed. He shook his head, just looking at me.

“What?” I asked.

Xem thêm: The Ending Of Now You See Me 2, Now You See Me 2

“Nothing,” he said.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

Augustus half smiled. “Because you’re beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, & I decided a while ago not to lớn deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence.” A brief awkward silence ensued. Augustus plowed through: “I mean, particularly given that, as you so deliciously pointed out, all of this will end in oblivion and everything.”

I kind of scoffed or sighed or exhaled in a way that was vaguely coughy và then said, “I’m not beau—”

“You’re lượt thích a millennial Natalie Portman. Lượt thích V for Vendetta Natalie Portman.”

“Never seen it,” I said.

“Really?” he asked. “Pixie-haired gorgeous girl dislikes authority và can’t help but fall for a boy she knows is trouble. It’s your autobiography, so far as I can tell.”

His every syllable flirted. Honestly, he kind of turned me on. I didn’t even know that guys could turn me on—not, like, in real life.

A younger girl walked past us. “How’s it going, Alisa?” he asked. She smiled & mumbled, “Hi, Augustus.” “Memorial people,” he explained. Memorial was the big research hospital. “Where do you go?”

“Children’s,” I said, my voice smaller than I expected it khổng lồ be. He nodded. The conversation seemed over. “Well,” I said, nodding vaguely toward the steps that led us out of the Literal Heart of Jesus. I tilted my cart onto its wheels và started walking. He limped beside me. “So, see you next time, maybe?” I asked.

“You should see it,” he said. “V for Vendetta, I mean.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll look it up.”

“No. With me. At my house,” he said. “Now.”

I stopped walking. “I hardly know you, Augustus Waters. You could be an ax murderer.”

He nodded. “True enough, Hazel Grace.” He walked past me, his shoulders filling out his green knit polo shirt, his back straight, his steps lilting just slightly lớn the right as he walked steady & confident on what I had determined was a prosthetic leg. Osteosarcoma sometimes takes a limb to kiểm tra you out. Then, if it likes you, it takes the rest.

I followed him upstairs, losing ground as I made my way up slowly, stairs not being a field of expertise for my lungs.

And then we were out of Jesus’s heart & in the parking lot, the spring air just on the cold side of perfect, the late-afternoon light heavenly in its hurtfulness.

Mom wasn’t there yet, which was unusual, because Mom was almost always waiting for me. I glanced around and saw that a tall, curvy brunette girl had Isaac pinned against the stone wall of the church, kissing him rather aggressively. They were close enough to me that I could hear the weird noises of their mouths together, & I could hear him saying, “Always,” and her saying, “Always,” in return.

Suddenly standing next khổng lồ me, Augustus half whispered, “They’re big believers in PDA.”

“What’s with the ‘always’?” The slurping sounds intensified.

“Always is their thing. They’ll always love each other & whatever. I would conservatively estimate they have texted each other the word always four million times in the last year.”

A couple more cars drove up, taking Michael và Alisa away. It was just Augustus và me now, watching Isaac and Monica, who proceeded apace as if they were not leaning against a place of worship. His hand reached for her boob over her shirt & pawed at it, his palm still while his fingers moved around. I wondered if that felt good. Didn’t seem lượt thích it would, but I decided khổng lồ forgive Isaac on the grounds that he was going blind. The senses must feast while there is yet hunger và whatever.

“Imagine taking that last drive to lớn the hospital,” I said quietly. “The last time you’ll ever drive a car.”

Without looking over at me, Augustus said, “You’re killing my vibe here, Hazel Grace. I’m trying khổng lồ observe young love in its many-splendored awkwardness.”

“I think he’s hurting her boob,” I said.

“Yes, it’s difficult lớn ascertain whether he is trying to lớn arouse her or perform a breast exam.” Then Augustus Waters reached into a pocket and pulled out, of all things, a pack of cigarettes. He flipped it mở cửa and put a cigarette between his lips.

“Are you serious?” I asked. “You think that’s cool? Oh, my God, you just ruined the whole thing.”

“Which whole thing?” he asked, turning to lớn me. The cigarette dangled unlit from the unsmiling corner of his mouth.

“The whole thing where a boy who is not unattractive or unintelligent or seemingly in any way unacceptable stares at me và points out incorrect uses of literality và compares me khổng lồ actresses và asks me lớn watch a movie at his house. But of course there is always a hamartia and yours is that oh, my God, even though you HAD FREAKING CANCER you give money to lớn a company in exchange for the chance khổng lồ acquire YET MORE CANCER. Oh, my God. Let me just assure you that not being able to breathe? SUCKS. Totally disappointing. Totally.”

“A hamartia?” he asked, the cigarette still in his mouth. It tightened his jaw. He had a hell of a jawline, unfortunately.

“A fatal flaw,” I explained, turning away from him. I stepped toward the curb, leaving Augustus Waters behind me, & then I heard a car start down the street. It was Mom. She’d been waiting for me to, like, make friends or whatever.

I felt this weird set of disappointment và anger welling up inside of me. I don’t even know what the feeling was, really, just that there was a lot of it, & I wanted khổng lồ smack Augustus Waters và also replace my lungs with lungs that didn’t suck at being lungs. I was standing with my Chuck Taylors on the very edge of the curb, the oxygen tank ball-and-chaining in the cart by my side, & right as my mom pulled up, I felt a hand grab mine.

I yanked my hand miễn phí but turned back to him.

“They don’t kill you unless you light them,” he said as Mom arrived at the curb. “And I’ve never lit one. It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power nguồn to vì chưng its killing.”

“It’s a metaphor,” I said, dubious. Mom was just idling.

“It’s a metaphor,” he said.

“You choose your behaviors based on their metaphorical resonances…” I said.

“Oh, yes.” He smiled. The big, goofy, real smile. “I’m a big believer in metaphor, Hazel Grace.”

I turned to lớn the car. Tapped the window. It rolled down. “I’m going lớn a movie with Augustus Waters,” I said. “Please record the next several episodes of the ANTM marathon for me.”

CHAPTER TWO

Augustus Waters drove horrifically. Whether stopping or starting, everything happened with a tremendous JOLT. I flew against the seat belt of his Toyota SUV each time he braked, and my neck snapped backward each time he hit the gas. I might have been nervous—what with sitting in the oto of a strange boy on the way khổng lồ his house, keenly aware that my crap lungs complicate efforts khổng lồ fend off unwanted advances—but his driving was so astonishingly poor that I could think of nothing else.

We’d gone perhaps a mile in jagged silence before Augustus said, “I failed the driving test three times.”

“You don’t say.”

He laughed, nodding. “Well, I can’t feel pressure in old Prosty, và I can’t get the hang of driving left-footed. My doctors say most amputees can drive with no problem, but…yeah. Not me. Anyway, I go in for my fourth driving test, & it goes about like this is going.” A half mile in front of us, a light turned red. Augustus slammed on the brakes, tossing me into the triangular embrace of the seat belt. “Sorry. I swear khổng lồ God I am trying to be gentle. Right, so anyway, at the over of the test, I totally thought I’d failed again, but the instructor was like, ‘Your driving is unpleasant, but it isn’t technically unsafe.’”

“I’m not sure I agree,” I said. “I suspect Cancer Perk.” Cancer Perks are the little things cancer kids get that regular kids don’t: basketballs signed by sports heroes, không tính tiền passes on late homework, unearned driver’s licenses, etc.

“Yeah,” he said. The light turned green. I braced myself. Augustus slammed the gas.

“You know they’ve got hand controls for people who can’t use their legs,” I pointed out.

“Yeah,” he said. “Maybe someday.” He sighed in a way that made me wonder whether he was confident about the existence of someday. I knew osteosarcoma was highly curable, but still.

There are a number of ways to establish someone’s approximate survival expectations without actually asking. I used the classic: “So, are you in school?” Generally, your parents pull you out of school at some point if they expect you to bite it.

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m at North Central. A year behind, though: I’m a sophomore. You?”

I considered lying. No one likes a corpse, after all. But in the end I told the truth. “No, my parents withdrew me three years ago.”

“Three years?” he asked, astonished.

I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.) It was, we were told, incurable.

I had a surgery called radical neck dissection, which is about as pleasant as it sounds. Then radiation. Then they tried some chemo for my lung tumors. The tumors shrank, then grew. By then, I was fourteen. My lungs started to fill up with water. I was looking pretty dead—my hands and feet ballooned; my skin cracked; my lips were perpetually blue. They’ve got this drug that makes you not feel so completely terrified about the fact that you can’t breathe, và I had a lot of it flowing into me through a PICC line, and more than a dozen other drugs besides. But even so, there’s a certain unpleasantness khổng lồ drowning, particularly when it occurs over the course of several months. I finally ended up in the ICU with pneumonia, và my mom knelt by the side of my bed and said, “Are you ready, sweetie?” và I told her I was ready, & my dad just kept telling me he loved me in this voice that was not breaking so much as already broken, và I kept telling him that I loved him, too, and everyone was holding hands, và I couldn’t catch my breath, and my lungs were acting desperate, gasping, pulling me out of the bed trying lớn find a position that could get them air, và I was embarrassed by their desperation, disgusted that they wouldn’t just let go, & I remember my mom telling me it was okay, that I was okay, that I would be okay, and my father was trying so hard not khổng lồ sob that when he did, which was regularly, it was an earthquake. And I remember wanting not khổng lồ be awake.

Everyone figured I was finished, but my Cancer Doctor Maria managed to get some of the fluid out of my lungs, và shortly thereafter the antibiotics they’d given me for the pneumonia kicked in.

I woke up và soon got into one of those experimental trials that are famous in the Republic of Cancervania for Not Working. The drug was Phalanxifor, this molecule designed to attach itself to lớn cancer cells và slow their growth. It didn’t work in about 70 percent of people. But it worked in me. The tumors shrank.

And they stayed shrunk. Huzzah, Phalanxifor! In the past eighteen months, my mets have hardly grown, leaving me with lungs that suck at being lungs but could, conceivably, struggle along indefinitely with the assistance of drizzled oxygen và daily Phalanxifor.

Admittedly, my Cancer Miracle had only resulted in a bit of purchased time. (I did not yet know the size of the bit.) But when telling Augustus Waters, I painted the rosiest possible picture, embellishing the miraculousness of the miracle.

“So now you gotta go back lớn school,” he said.

“I actually can’t,” I explained, “because I already got my GED. So I’m taking classes at MCC,” which was our community college.

“A college girl,” he said, nodding. “That explains the aura of sophistication.” He smirked at me. I shoved his upper arm playfully. I could feel the muscle right beneath the skin, all tense and amazing.

We made a wheels-screeching turn into a subdivision with eight-foot-high stucco walls. His house was the first one on the left. A two-story colonial. We jerked khổng lồ a halt in his driveway.

I followed him inside. A wooden plaque in the entryway was engraved in cursive with the words home Is Where the Heart Is, và the entire house turned out lớn be festooned in such observations. Good Friends Are Hard lớn Find & Impossible khổng lồ Forget read an illustration above the coatrack. True Love Is Born from Hard Times promised a needlepointed pillow in their antique-furnished living room. Augustus saw me reading. “My parents gọi them Encouragements,” he explained. “They’re everywhere.”

•••

His mom và dad called him Gus. They were making enchiladas in the kitchen (a piece of stained glass by the sink read in bubbly letters Family Is Forever). His mom was putting chicken into tortillas, which his dad then rolled up & placed in a glass pan. They didn’t seem too surprised by my arrival, which made sense: The fact that Augustus made me feel special did not necessarily indicate that I was special. Maybe he brought trang chủ a different girl every night to show her movies & feel her up.

“This is Hazel Grace,” he said, by way of introduction.

“Just Hazel,” I said.

“How’s it going, Hazel?” asked Gus’s dad. He was tall—almost as tall as Gus—and skinny in a way that parentally aged people usually aren’t.

“Okay,” I said.

“How was Isaac’s support Group?”

“It was incredible,” Gus said.

“You’re such a Debbie Downer,” his mom said. “Hazel, bởi vì you enjoy it?”

I paused a second, trying khổng lồ figure out if my response should be calibrated lớn please Augustus or his parents. “Most of the people are really nice,” I finally said.

“That’s exactly what we found with families at Memorial when we were in the thick of it with Gus’s treatment,” his dad said. “Everybody was so kind. Strong, too. In the darkest days, the Lord puts the best people into your life.”