Young Adult Fiction, Romance
January 10, 2012
Hazel, the main character of the story, is a sixteen-year-old girl who wears a cannula and has thyroid cancer in a modern suburban town in the United States. When her mother forces her to go to Support Group for cancer kids, she meets a seventeen-year-old boy named Augustus who has lost a leg due to osteosarcoma. Hazel has not been in school for three years due to cancer, so she has difficulties making friends. However, her friendship with Augustus is different. Augustus reads Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, and because the book does not have an ending, they contact the author, Peter Van Houten. The author says he will tell them the ending if they go to Amsterdam, where he lives. During this trip, Augustus’s and Hazel’s relationship start to strengthen. They look out for each other and are very romantic in Amsterdam. However, when they are at Peter Van Houten’s house, they are not welcomed and he does not answer their questions for An Imperial Affliction. A day before they leave from Amsterdam, Augustus tells Hazel that he had cancer before they left for the trip. When they arrive home, Augustus’s cancer worsens. Hazel becomes more comfortable with making new friends because of her experiences with Augustus, therefore overcoming her difficulty of making friends. After a few weeks, Peter Van Houten tells Hazel the answers to what she and Augustus asked, resolving the fact that Hazel and Augustus do not know why An Imperial Affliction is not finished.
When I read this book, I thought that this book’s only weakness was the usage of capital letters in odd spaces. Because of the this, I thought this book was informal writing. However, as I read through this book, I began to become more used to it and at the same time, the number of those decreased significantly. I also liked the numerous parts of this story where it is tragic and humorous. The story’s plot was extremely interesting because I liked the reactions of the characters in this book, and it was challenging to find the conflict, climax, and resolution. I would choose this book again if I could go back in time, because I enjoyed the plot and the word choice. The author’s strong and descriptive word choice was an aspect of the book that I really enjoyed, because the author could put his point across without confusion. This book would be my favorite book by far because this story is tragic, humorous, has good word choice, and I loved the plot of the story. Because this is my favorite book so far, I would give this book a nine and three-quarters stars out of ten stars.
STUDY QUESTIONS AND VOCABULARY:
1. What does Augustus’s parents call him?
1a. Augustus’s parents call him Gus. (Page 13)
2. Why does Hazel like An Imperial Affliction?
2a. Hazel likes it because she feels that the author can understand her in weird and impossible ways. She also thinks that the book is special and “rare.” (Page 15)
3. Why does Hazel dislike exposure to her peers?
3a. Hazel dislikes exposure to her peers because after being removed from school three years already, there is an unbridgeable gap between them. When Hazel just developed cancer, her peers would try to help her, but when they realized they could not help Hazel anymore, they just ignored her. (Page 18)
4. Why do Augustus and Hazel write to Peter Van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction?
4a. Hazel and Augustus write to Peter Van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction, because they want to know what happens in the end of An Imperial Affliction, because he abruptly stopped writing the book without a proper ending and did not write about what happened to the characters. (Page 21-25)
5. Why do Augustus, Hazel’s father, and Hazel talk about orange things?
5a. Augustus and Hazel’s father first start talking about orange things because when Augustus picks Hazel up for them to go to a picnic, Hazel’s father observes that he is wearing a Rik Smits jersey, and because he is from the Netherlands and the Netherlands’s national color is orange, they start talking about orange things. Later, when Hazel and Augustus arrive to the park for the picnic, they start talking about the food that they pack and how it is orange, because she wants to continue the conversation between Augustus and her father. (Page 28-29)
Decrepit (Page 9, 29)
Embellishing (Page 13)
Fetish (Page 15)
Platoon (Page 20)
Rapture (Page 23)
6. Who is Caroline Mathers and why does Hazel connect to her?
6a. Caroline Mathers is a person who died of brain cancer a year ago, and looks somewhat similar to Hazel. When Hazel and Augustus first met, Augustus stared at her because Hazel looked like Caroline Mathers and Augustus was Caroline Mathers’s boyfriend before she died. Hazel refers to her when she is talking because when Caroline was alive, most of Caroline’s behaviors were similar to Hazel’s behaviors. An example of this is that Hazel and Caroline both feel like a “grenade” and want to minimize the damage dealt when they die. They do not want to cause too much “damage” to other people by making them feel really sorry about them when they die because of cancer. She also connects with Caroline Mathers when Augustus touches her, and how she tenses up when he does that, because she does not want to be a “grenade” and cause harm to others when she dies. (Page 32)
7.Why are Hazel and her parents so sad after the cancer meeting?
7a. They are really sad for Hazel because the phalanxifor that she is taking will not save her life from the cancer that she has right now. The phalanxifor can only postpone Hazel’s death. During the cancer meeting, the doctors say that Hazel may not be able to go to the Netherlands to go and see Mr. Van Houten because of lung issues also bums Hazel and her parents. However, a day before Hazel goes to the Netherlands with Augustus, her parents tell her that she is able to go to the Netherlands to see Mr. Van Houten. (Page 36)
8. Why does Augustus stay away from Hazel when they are waiting in the airport to board the plane to go and see Mr. Van Houten in the Netherlands?
8a. Augustus stays away from Hazel because he does not want to attract too much attention from others in the airport, and does not want to be looked down upon when he is with another person that is not “normal” because of cancer. He does not want to be embarrassed when looked at because he is sitting next to Hazel, who has an oxygen tank to help her breathe. He thinks that those type of people who look at them piss him off. (Page 43-44)
9. Why does Hazel become really mad when she is in Peter Van Houten’s house?
9a. Hazel becomes really mad when she is in Peter Van Houten’s house because he does not want Hazel and Augustus to enter his house and he does not answer any of the questions that she has asked when he has promised Hazel that he would answer all of the questions she asks about An Imperial Affliction. He only talks about how Hazel and Augustus are unexpected visitors and how they are not supposed to be at his house. He also talks about unrelated things. Hazel is also mad because she has wasted Augustus’s only cancer wish on trying to figure out what happens at the end of An Imperial Affliction, and they have not accomplished anything out of his wish. (Page 51-54)
10. Why does Augustus not tell Hazel about him having cancer again until their trip has almost ended?
10a. Augustus does not tell Hazel about having cancer again until their trip has almost ended because he wants Hazel to be happy and not cancel the trip to go see Mr. Van Houten. He wanted Hazel to go see Mr. Van Houten because when they go to the Netherlands together so that he makes her happy by using up his wish to do something that she wants to do. He wants to develop a relationship with Hazel so that he lives a normal life and be a person that is significant, because he fears oblivion. (Page 59-60)
Lascivious (Page 31)
Edema (Page 36)
Hem In (Page 43)
Desolate (Page 49)
Ontologically (Page 52)
11. Why does Gus not want to call his parents when he is hurt at the gas station, but calls Hazel instead when his G-tube is broken?
11a. Gus does not want to call his parents when he hurt at the gas station, but calls Hazel instead when his G-tube is broken because he is afraid that his parents will yell at him for going to a gas station for buying a pack of cigarettes that he will not smoke at 3:00 A.M. in the morning and broke his G-tube because of that. He feels like Hazel is a person that he could trust and rely on. (Page 68)
12. Why does Hazel want to go to Support Group on “The Last Day” with Augustus but her parents do to want her to go there? What do they do there?
12a. Hazel wants to go to Support Group on “The Last Day” because it is the last day that Augustus is feeling well after he has cancer and she does not want to ruin his “Last Day,” and wants to make him feel good. Hazel’s parents do not want her to go to Support Group on “The Last Day” with Augustus because they did not like it when she left to go see Augustus in the middle of the night, and his father wanted to see her because he is always out of the house, and that day is one of the only days that he and Hazel are home. In Support Group, Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac prepare for Augustus’s funeral, and when Augustus will die, everything that Hazel and Isaac say at his funeral are finalized and approved by himself. (Page 72)
13. Why does Hazel not want to whisper to Augustus’s grave during Augustus’s funeral?
13a. Hazel does not want to to whisper to Augustus’s grave during Augustus’s funeral because she feels embarrassed when whispering personal things to his grave in front of everyone that she does not know at the funeral. She tells her parents an excuse that she is really tired when Hazel is supposed to whisper to Augustus’s grave. However, because she is pressured by her parents, she goes to whisper those things. (Page 76-77)
14. Why does Peter Van Houten come to Augustus’s funeral and how does he come there?
14a. Peter Van Houten goes to Augustus’s funeral because he feels bad for Augustus and not answering the questions that Hazel and Augustus asked. He also is sorry for Augustus because he used to have a child that died the same way Augustus died, so he shows pity for him. He knows of the funeral because many people are saying sorry for him on the Internet after he dies, and he also manages to locate the funeral through the Internet. He goes to Augustus’s funeral because he is sorry for what he did when Hazel and Augustus came to his house and ignored Hazel’s questions there. (Page 77, 80)
15. How does Peter Van Houten say sorry to Hazel after what he did during his trip to Hazel and Augustus? Also, why does Hazel accept his apology?
15a. Peter Van Houten says sorry to Hazel after what he did during Hazel and Augustus’s trip to see him and have their questions about An Imperial Affliction answered and how he became mad and did not answer any of their questions. He says sorry by going into Hazel’s car when she is in Isaac’s house and starting an awkward conversation with her and telling him about her daughter’s death, and how she died the same way that Augustus died. Hazel accepts his apology because she realizes that he had a daughter who dies also because similarly to Augustus, and considered the honesty that he had written about cancer kids. (Page 80-81)
Prematorium (Page 64)
Mortified (Page 67)
Contemplated (Page 72)
Pretentious (Page 73)
Hospice (Page 81)