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The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars Summary


Here you will find a The Fault in Our Stars summary (John Green's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

The Fault in Our Stars Summary Overview

At the insistence of her mother, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a seventeen-year-old with cancer, frequents a support group where she meets a boy, Augustus Waters, who is there for their mutual friend Isaac. Hazel, who has thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs, and Augustus, who had osteosarcoma but is now cancer-free after losing his leg, share a bond over their experiences. They exchange favorite books and Hazel introduces Augustus to "An Imperial Affliction," a novel about a girl with cancer that she finds relatable. The book abruptly ends leaving its characters' fates unknown, intriguing Hazel. Soon after, Augustus manages to get in touch with the book's reclusive author, Peter Van Houten, and they start corresponding via email. Van Houten alludes he could only answer Hazel's inquiries about the book's ending in person. Subsequently, during a Dutch-themed picnic, Augustus surprises Hazel with news that a cancer charity is fulfilling his wish of taking them both to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten. Despite her initial excitement, Hazel is hesitant about her growing feelings for Augustus, likening herself to a grenade that could hurt him when she dies. But after a health scare lands her in the ICU, she learns that Augustus never left her side and is even more determined to go to Amsterdam. Her parents and doctors are initially against her traveling due to her health, but they finally agree after persuasion from her familiar physician, Dr. Maria. However, their meeting with Van Houten is disappointing as they find him to be a bitter drunk. Despite the setback, they visit Anne Frank's house, share a romantic moment, and make love for the first time. The next day, Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned and spread. Heading back home, Hazel witnesses Augustus's health deteriorating rapidly, and she shifts from calling him Augustus to Gus, as his parents do. Gus arranges a prefuneral for himself where Hazel and Isaac give heartfelt eulogies, expressing their love for him. Gus passes away eight days later, and to Hazel's surprise, Van Houten attends the funeral. She learns that Gus and Van Houten had kept in touch, and that Gus had been working on a sequel to "An Imperial Affliction" for her. Van Houten, under the influence of alcohol, confesses that the story was his way of dealing with his daughter Anna's death from cancer. Hazel encourages him to get sober and write another book. Later, she discovers that Gus had wanted Van Houten to use the pages he'd written to create a eulogy for her. Reading Gus's words, she agrees with his sentiment that while pain is inevitable, we can choose whom we allow to hurt us, and he was happy with his choice. The story ends with Hazel affirming that she too is content with her choice.

chapter 1

Hazel Grace Lancaster, believing herself to be on the brink of death, is persuaded by her mother and doctor to join a cancer support group. The group is led by Patrick, a cancer survivor, who frequently references the meeting location at the center of a cross-shaped church, symbolising Jesus' heart. Hazel finds his life boring. In the group, she shares her story: a sixteen year old battling thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. She and a fellow group member, Isaac, who is losing his sight to cancer, are both cynical of the group's activities. After attending several meetings, Hazel notices a newcomer, Augustus Waters. He's there for Isaac, who is soon to lose his other eye to cancer. Augustus had osterosarcoma and fears "oblivion." Hazel, usually quiet, shares her belief in the group: that death is inevitable and all human efforts will eventually be meaningless. She derived this idea from her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten. When the meeting ends, Isaac introduces Augustus to Hazel. He likens her to Natalie Portman in “V for Vendetta,” and they bond over mocking the group's meeting spot in the “literal” heart of Jesus. Augustus, while watching Isaac and his girlfriend Monica, invites Hazel over to watch “V for Vendetta,” with a cigarette between his lips. She's initially put off by the cigarette, but changes her mind when he explains he never lights it, using it as a metaphor about denying lethal power.

chapter 2

On their way to Augustus's place to view "V for Vendetta," Hazel observes his erratic driving. He confesses that he's failed the driving test thrice, revealing his leg was amputated due to cancer. He believes he finally passed due to "cancer perks," privileges often granted to kids with cancer such as getting celebrity autographs or skipping schoolwork. When discussing school, Augustus discloses he's a high school sophomore, having only missed one year due to cancer. Hazel shares her personal cancer journey. At thirteen, she was withdrawn from school after being diagnosed with advanced stage IV thyroid cancer, and she details the surgical procedure and chemotherapy used to eliminate her lung tumors. At fourteen, she contracted pneumonia and was saved by her doctor, Maria, who drained fluid from Hazel's lungs. Hazel has since remained alive with the aid of a trial drug named Phalanxifor, which has managed to halt the growth of her lung tumors. Despite her tribulations, she successfully obtained her GED and presently takes courses at a local community college. Augustus playfully suggests her college enrollment might be the source of Hazel's sophistication. Upon meeting Augustus's parents, Hazel discerns they call him Gus, not Augustus. She appreciates the concept of one individual bearing two names. Gus shows Hazel his basement room, crammed with basketball awards. He shares an anecdote about an existential revelation he had while practicing free throws, just days before his leg amputation. Hazel admires his philosophical perspective. Hazel and Gus agree to exchange their favorite books. Gus gives Hazel "The Price of Dawn," a novel inspired by his preferred video game, while Hazel expresses her deep affection for "An Imperial Affliction." After the movie, Gus drives Hazel home, and she promises to contact him once she's done reading his book.

chapter 3

Hazel's mom cheerily acknowledges Hazel's thirty-third half birthday after she wakes. To pacify her mother, Hazel decides to catch up with Kaitlyn, an old school friend, at the mall. There, she acquires the subsequent books to the novel given to her by Augustus. While Kaitlyn is engrossed in discussing her love life and shoe shopping, Hazel simply buys a pair of flip-flops to have something to purchase. Pretending to be weary, Hazel parts ways with Kaitlyn. To fill time, she starts reading the sequel to The Price of Dawn, Midnight Dawn, and finds a fascinating side to the violent series similar to the books she enjoyed during her healthier years as a kid when she could lose herself into “an infinite fiction.” As Hazel is reading, a kid curiously inquires about the tube in her nose. Hazel explains it's a cannula that assists her breathing by connecting to her oxygen tank. She even lets the kid try it. When the kid’s mom shows up, she apologizes and retrieves her child. This encounter with the child's genuine curiosity makes Hazel reflect on the stark contrast between this normal interaction and her forced conversation with Kaitlyn.

chapter 4

Hazel shares the storyline of An Imperial Affliction. It's about Anna, a young girl with blood cancer, her one-eyed, tulip-loving mother, and The Dutch Tulip Man, a questionable character with unconfirmed wealth and nationality. Hazel relates to Anna's straightforward approach to her illness, viewing herself as a byproduct of biological mutation. Hazel is frustrated by the book's abrupt ending and the author Van Houten's disappearance post-publication. Switching gears, Hazel contacts Augustus. He's comforting Isaac, who has just been dumped. Hazel joins them playing video games. Isaac is upset. Augustus cites An Imperial Affliction: “pain demands to be felt.” When Isaac's recklessness risks the game, Augustus sacrifices himself in the virtual world to save virtual children, arguing it was a success despite the 'mission failed' message. Hazel reminds him that all rescues are short-lived. Suddenly, Isaac lashes out at the pillows. Augustus suggests Isaac vent his anger on basketball trophies instead, as they're less indestructible than pillows.

chapter 5

Augustus surprises Hazel a week later with a call. They engage in a rich conversation about their shared love for the book, An Imperial Affliction, and their curiosity towards the elusive author, Van Houten. Augustus reveals he's managed to reach out to Van Houten via his assistant, Lidewij Vliegenthart, and shares a cryptic yet warm response he received from the author. Hazel, inspired, spends considerable time writing an email to Van Houten, pouring out her questions about the unresolved aspects of his book. Once sent, she calls Augustus, reading him "A Certain Slant of Light," the Emily Dickinson poem that inspired the book's title. They also delve into Augustus's past, discussing his ex-girlfriend, Caroline, who succumbed to cancer. Hazel cherishes these phone conversations, considering them an exclusive "third space" they share. Two days later, Hazel gets news from Augustus that Isaac's surgery was a success, albeit, he's now blind. She visits Isaac in the hospital, bringing him fragrant flowers. She meets Isaac's mother who inquires about Monica, Isaac's ex-girlfriend. To Hazel's surprise, she receives a reply from Van Houten the next day. He invites her to discuss her questions in person in Amsterdam, although he's concerned she might use his answers for a sequel. Overjoyed but aware of the financial constraints, Hazel relays the news to Augustus and sadly admits that she used her one granted wish for a Disney World trip when she was first diagnosed. A few days later, Augustus surprises Hazel with a Dutch-themed date at the Funky Bones sculpture park. He stuns her with the news that he never used his wish, and they're going to Amsterdam courtesy of The Genie Foundation.

chapter 6

Hazel's mom is chosen to accompany her and Augustus to Amsterdam due to Hazel's medical condition. Hazel finds herself reflecting on her reaction when Augustus touched her face during their visit to the sculpture park. She acknowledges her attraction towards Augustus but she hadn't considered kissing him before. After a conversation about Augustus with her friend Kaitlyn, Hazel decides to research Caroline Mather, Augustus's deceased girlfriend, online. Hazel sees no resemblance between her healthy self and Caroline, but acknowledges that cancer has made them look eerily alike. At dinner, Hazel interacts with her parents in a standoffish manner. When questioned about her behaviour, she refers to herself as a “grenade” that could harm those close to her. She then retreats to her room for some solitude and overhears her parents discussing her deteriorating health. She realizes her reaction to Augustus was because she did not want to cause him pain in the future. She messages Augustus to explain her fear of causing him pain, but he flirts back, to which she simply replies, “Sorry.” Later, her mom reassures her that she's more than just a ticking time bomb to them; she brings them much joy. In the early hours of the morning, Hazel is awakened by a severe headache.

chapter 7

In a panicked state, Hazel yells for her parents as a series of what feel like explosions surge within her head. The sensation is so terrible that Hazel briefly believes she may die, but death doesn't come. She likens the experience to standing on a seashore with relentless waves crashing upon her, but never quite allowing her to drown. Suddenly, Hazel regains consciousness in the ICU. Her father informs her that her headache was a result of inadequate oxygenation due to fluid build up in her lungs. Despite the scare, Dr. Maria sees no new tumors in the PET scan, which remains a positive sign. Hazel's nurse gently escorts her father out, explaining that Hazel needs rest. As she feeds Hazel ice chips, the nurse informs her that Augustus has been waiting outside her room since she arrived, though he hasn't been permitted to see her. On Hazel's final day in the hospital, Augustus is granted a brief visit, during which he hands her another letter from Van Houten. This correspondence discusses the concept of hamartia, or the fatal flaw, as it pertains to Hazel and Augustus's situation. Van Houten argues against Shakespeare's assertion that “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.” He also refers to Shakespeare’s fifty-fifth sonnet, labels time as a "slut" for "screwing everybody," and supports Hazel's choice to limit the pain she causes others. After reading the letter, Hazel finds herself contemplating whether Dr. Maria would approve her for international travel.

chapter 8

During a medical consultation about Hazel's health, one doctor rules out a lung transplant, causing her father to cry. This triggers Hazel's memory of her mother saying she wouldn't be a “mom anymore” during Hazel's near-death experience. The doctors suggest continuing with Hazel's current treatment and monitoring her lung fluid more often. The medical team considers international travel too risky for Hazel. Hazel informs Augustus that she won't be able to go to Amsterdam. His sense of humor comforts her. They admire Van Houten’s unique description of time as a “slut” and Hazel enjoys their "third space" phone conversations. The next day, Hazel's melancholy deepens. She confesses to Augustus that she's upset about not going to Amsterdam, the sky's gloom, and an old swing-set in her yard. Augustus visits Hazel and suggests that the old swing-set is the main cause of her sadness. They post an online ad for the “Desperately Lonely Swing Set,” and it quickly finds a new home. As Augustus reads An Imperial Affliction to Hazel, she realizes her growing love for him. He kisses her cheek. The next morning, Hazel receives an unexpected email from Lidewij, stating that arrangements for the Amsterdam trip are in place. Hazel's mother joyfully tells her that Dr. Maria has allowed the trip. Hazel excitedly texts Augustus that they will be going to Amsterdam after all.

chapter 9

Hazel goes to a Support Group gathering before her trip to Amsterdam. The session grows heated as she is irritated by the repeated use of trite phrases praising cancer patients' courage. When Lida, a fellow patient, commends her bravery, Hazel sarcastically retorts she'd swap her courage for Lida's health, but feels remorse soon after. Post-meeting, she joins Isaac to play a visually-impaired-friendly video game called The Price of Dawn. They banter about Augustus's heroic yet self-destructive gaming style, agreeing humorously that he is “too enamored with metaphor.” Isaac probes Hazel about any romantic relationship with Augustus, suggesting she might fear getting hurt like Monica did with him. However, Hazel privately fears the potential pain she could cause Augustus by leaving him through death.

chapter 10

Hazel is set to go to Amsterdam and muses over why certain dishes are considered breakfast food. Heading to Augustus's place with her mom, they hear cries and shouting from inside, prompting them to return to the car. Soon, Augustus emerges, appearing normal. At the airport, Hazel temporarily disconnects her oxygen tank to get through security, feeling a sense of liberation. Augustus, claiming hunger, goes to get breakfast, taking longer than usual. He confesses that he wasn't comfortable around the people staring at them at the gate. He didn't want to be seen as angry. On the flight, Hazel is surprised that Augustus has never flown before. His initial fear turns into fascination. Hazel is pleased to see a more innocent side of Augustus. Quoting An Imperial Affliction, he says, “The risen sun too bright in her losing eyes.” They watch “300” mid-flight, a movie too violent for Hazel, but she indulges in Augustus's pleasure. They debate the ratio of living to dead people, with Augustus revealing there are approximately 14 deceased individuals for each living person. Augustus requests Hazel to read from Ginsburg’s Howl, but she opts to recite a different poem. After her recital, Augustus confesses his love for her, acknowledging the inevitability of oblivion and the eventual end of the earth.

chapter 11

Hazel, her mom, and Augustus arrive in Amsterdam and check into the Hotel Filosoof. Hazel and her mom are in the room named after Kierkegaard while Augustus is in the one named after Heidegger. Awaking from a nap, Hazel is overjoyed to find that Lidewij has arranged dinner for her and Augustus at the Oranjee restaurant. Dressing up for the occasion, they admire the city's beauty as they head to the restaurant. Upon reaching Oranjee, they are seated at a canal-side table and served complimentary champagne. The meal proves to be heavenly, each course surpassing the previous one. Upon Augustus's request, Hazel recites the last few lines of the “Prufrock” poem. A passerby toasts to them, calling them a beautiful couple. Augustus then divulges that his suit was intended for his funeral. He discusses his belief in the afterlife and his fear of an unremarkable life. Hazel expresses her frustration with his insistence that only lives lived for a cause are meaningful. Post dinner, while walking, Hazel seeks to know about Augustus's past relationship with Caroline. She wants to know if he will be alright after her death. Augustus explains how Caroline's personality changed due to her brain cancer, making her increasingly bitter towards him. Although Hazel fears hurting him in the same way, Augustus expresses that having his heart broken by her would be an honor.

chapter 12

Hazel emulates Anna's outfit from An Imperial Affliction on the day they visit Van Houten. She and Augustus are shocked when they meet the man: he is bloated, sagging, and extremely rude. Van Houten denies inviting them, claiming his note was rhetorical. Lidewij, present at the meeting, confesses she orchestrated the encounter, thinking it would benefit Van Houten. Van Houten, on the other hand, drinks and dismisses Hazel's questions, taunting her for dressing like Anna. He responds to her list of questions with an enigmatic speech about Zeno’s tortoise and Swedish hip-hop, concluding with "some infinities are bigger than other infinities," which he suggests should answer her inquiries. Unsatisfied, Hazel continues questioning, but Van Houten eventually rejects his own novel, mocking the notion that authors have unique insight into their characters. He accuses Hazel of exploiting people's pity. Hazel retorts by spilling his scotch, and in response to his demand for the importance of her questions, Augustus escorts her out. Augustus then promises to pen his own end to An Imperial Affliction for her. A disgusted Lidewij resigns as Van Houten's assistant and follows them, explaining that Van Houten comes from an old-money family and was not always so bitter. She then invites them to tour Anne Frank's house to make up for the disastrous meeting. Despite the exertion, Hazel persists through the tour of steep stairs. She considers Otto Frank's post-war life as they reach the top of the house. As they watch a video of Otto Frank, Augustus suggests they become a team to fight evil worldwide. Hazel contemplates the appropriateness of a kiss amidst the solemn setting, but they end up kissing to the applause of the onlooking crowd. They later return to Augustus's hotel room, where they express their love and sleep together for the first time, the experience differing from Hazel's expectations.

chapter 13

Hazel and Augustus relay their encounter with Van Houten to Hazel's mom. Following this, Augustus proposes a return to the hotel which instigates Hazel's contemplation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. She ponders over how basic physiological needs precede ones like love, self-esteem, and creativity. At the hotel, Hazel senses something amiss. Augustus reveals his illness, explaining his hip pain and the results of his recent PET scan. Hazel consoles him, calling him "Gus," and he promises to fight his disease and stick around to bother her. As she weeps, he kisses her, revealing a flaw—his cancer. Together in bed, they discuss potential treatments. Augustus expresses regret about not having a proper fight and compares his cancer to a civil war with an unavoidable outcome. He shares his prior online tour of the Rijksmuseum, mentioning the lack of artwork commemorating death by disease. He concludes there's no honor or value in dying from illness. Hazel reflects on how Augustus, despite his ailing body, seeks purpose, thus challenging Maslow's Hierarchy.

chapter 14

During their homeward journey, Hazel and Gus share their thoughts as they gaze at the clouds. Gus mentions an old dream of his about living on a cloud which was shattered by a science teacher's harsh reality check. As he drifts off to sleep due to champagne and painkillers, Gus expresses his feeling that Van Houten was hostile towards them. Upon landing, Hazel reunites with her father, who discloses his knowledge about Gus's relapsed cancer. He also shares his thoughts on An Imperial Affliction, finding it confusing and defeatist, despite Hazel's claim of its honesty. The subsequent day, Hazel and Isaac visit Gus during his chemotherapy session. The discussion eventually lands on Isaac's ex, Monica, who hasn't been in touch since his surgery. A wrathful Gus devises a plan and they end up egging Monica's car. Hazel captures a picture of Gus in the act, not knowing it would be her last photo of him.

chapter 15

Hazel and her family share a dinner at Augustus's home, where she and Augustus fondly recall their wonderful time at Oranjee, claiming the food was divine. A week later, Augustus is rushed to the hospital due to chest pains. Hazel, again dressed as Anna, pays him a visit. However, his mother restricts the visit to family only, so Hazel remains in the waiting area, looking at pictures on her phone and reminiscing about the time when she first met Augustus. She begins to understand Van Houten’s statement about some infinities being larger than others. Two weeks on, Hazel accompanies Augustus, now wheelchair-bound, to the Funky Bones park. Here, they enjoy a bottle of champagne, a gift from his doctor, while observing children at play. Augustus confesses that in their previous visit he saw himself as one of the kids, but now sees himself as the bones.

chapter 16

Hazel spends a common day with a gravely sick Gus. She arrives at his house near midday; he greets her from a wheelchair at the entrance of his home. By then, he's usually had and regurgitated his breakfast. They head out to the backyard, where Gus confesses he longs for Hazel's old swing set, remarking that longing for the past is a dying person's symptom. The pair doze off together to the tunes of his beloved band, and they later play “The Price of Dawn.” Hazel observes Gus's happiness when he rescues her from the game's digital antagonists. She contemplates pretending to choke so Gus might be the hero, possibly alleviating his fear of leading a pointless life. However, she reconsiders, picturing the possible embarrassment he'd experience if he realizes the scam. Hazel ponders the challenge of preserving dignity when “the sun is too bright in your losing eyes.”

chapter 17

A month after the Amsterdam trip, Hazel discovers Augustus in a disoriented state in his room, lying in his own filth. She calls for his parents and avoids the cleanup. Later, they attempt to play video games but Augustus's frailty hinders them. Hazel tries to console him by sharing her own embarrassing moments. He notes that she no longer calls him by his full name. In a moment of vulnerability, Augustus shares his fear of leading an insignificant life. He laments his unfulfilled dreams of heroism and glory. Hazel is upset by his outlook on life, arguing that his value isn't determined by grand accomplishments. To her, he is special just the way he is. She tells him that the love from his family and her is his reality, not the fantasies of heroism. He may never become a celebrated figure, but she insists that he is important to those around him. Despite her harsh words, Augustus appreciates her honesty. They resume their game, accepting the truth in her words.

chapter 18

In the early morning, Hazel is jolted awake by a call from Augustus. He's at a gas station, in trouble with his G-tube. He urges Hazel not to involve the police or his family and asks her to collect him. Despite her confusion and drowsiness, Hazel rushes to the gas station. There, she discovers Augustus soaked in vomit, sitting in the driver's seat. The stench suggests his G-tube tract is infected. Hazel promptly dials for an ambulance, as Augustus weakly explains his intention to buy cigarettes alone. Hazel observes the drastic transformation in Augustus, from his previous confident self to a desperate figure begging for death. Despite his self-loathing tirade, Hazel manages to soothe him. As they wait for the ambulance, Augustus requests Hazel to read something for him. She recites "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams and follows up with a personalized verse about Augustus.

chapter 19

A few days after the gas station incident, Gus, previously known as Augustus, returns home from the hospital. He tries to show Hazel something that she's unable to see, claiming it's the remainder of his dignity. The next day, Hazel meets Gus's older half-siblings, their spouses, and kids. When Gus awakes from a nap, the whole family accompanies him outside. Amid their conversation, he humorously comments on his intelligence and "hot body," making a cheeky reference to Hazel's oxygen tank by saying that his attractiveness took her breath away. Gus's father discreetly expresses his gratitude towards Hazel. As the section concludes, Hazel acknowledges that this was her final enjoyable day with Gus, preceding the "Last Good Day."

chapter 20

Hazel discusses the stereotypical belief of a cancer patient's "Last Good Day," noting how it's difficult to identify it in real-time. She receives a call from Augustus, requesting her to meet at their support group venue that night, also known as The Literal Heart of Jesus. He wants her to write a eulogy. After a heated argument with her parents, Hazel storms off to prepare the eulogy. On arrival, she sees Isaac at a lectern, facing a wheelchair-bound Augustus. Augustus humorously admits he wanted to be present at his own funeral. Isaac's eulogy labels Augustus as a vain, pretentious individual, but also notes his unique ability to influence his own funeral. Isaac wraps up, promising to refuse future robot eyes, fearing a world without Augustus. Hazel then presents her eulogy, acknowledging Augustus as her deepest love. Instead of dwelling on their love story that will die with them, she speaks on the concept of infinity. Explaining that some infinities are bigger than others, she expresses gratitude for the small infinity she shared with Augustus, a period she wouldn't trade for anything.

chapter 21

Just over a week after his prefuneral, Augustus passes away. His mother is the one to break the news to Hazel in a late-night phone call. Hazel, in turn, informs Isaac. As she struggles to handle the loss, her parents stay with her until daylight, then leave her to her thoughts. She reflects on the final days she shared with Augustus, filled with memories but now empty of joy as there is no one left to share them with. The anguish she feels surpasses any physical pain caused by her cancer. She likens it to facing relentless waves but being unable to submerge. Calling Augustus's voicemail fails to provide any solace, and she finds her attempt to recreate their special "third space," pointless. Checking Augustus's online profile, she sees messages of condolence beginning to gather. She imagines his intellectual dissection of a comment that envisions him playing basketball in the afterlife. Annoyed by the banal remarks, Hazel impulsively responds harshly to a comment. She then remembers Van Houton's theory that writing buries rather than revives. Eventually, Hazel joins her parents on the living room couch where they find comfort in each other's arms for the remainder of the day.

chapter 22

Hazel, along with her parents, take part in Augustus's funeral, held next to the support group's meeting place, The Literal Heart of Jesus. Hazel conveys her sympathies to Augustus's parents, and his mother reveals Augustus's deep feelings for Hazel. As the ceremony is about to start, Hazel approaches Augustus's casket after disconnecting her oxygen tank. Inside, Augustus appears unnatural, dressed in his suit from Oranjee. Hazel repeats "okay" several times and secretly places a pack of Camel Lights in the casket. When the funeral commences, the minister commends Augustus's bravery and inspirational nature. Hazel feels a strong reaction, but is distracted by Van Houten, who quietly derides the minister's speech as “horse crap.” As the service progresses, Isaac and Hazel each deliver a eulogy. Isaac's is solemn, recalling a visit from Augustus after his eye surgery. Hazel starts her tribute with a quote from Augustus's home: “Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.” She doesn't share the rest of her speech, only revealing that it contained words of motivation for the living. After the burial rites, Van Houten asks to accompany Hazel and her parents home. He explains that he had been following obituaries online and had kept in touch with Augustus during his final days. Augustus had suggested that Van Houten could rectify his past behavior by attending his funeral and sharing Anna's mother's fate with Hazel. Van Houten then discloses the fate cryptically: “Omnis cellula e cellula,” translating to “All cells come from cells.” Hazel, uninterested in an elaboration, labels Van Houten as a pitiful drunkard and forces him to leave the car. Later, at home, Hazel's father arrives in her room. He apologizes for Augustus's passing, stating it's unfair, but he also acknowledges the honor of her having loved Augustus and compares it to his feelings for her.

chapter 23

Several days post funeral, Hazel spends time with Isaac, playing video games created for the visually impaired. As they play, conversation drifts to the recently departed Augustus. Isaac queries Hazel about Augustus' pain levels and she affirms that he was in pain. They commiserate over the harsh reality of death and Isaac discerns that Hazel is battling with anger. Hazel reflects on her initial encounter with Augustus and his expressed dread of oblivion. She recalls her response; that oblivion was a universal inevitability and the real dilemma was not oblivion or pain, but their purposelessness. She also reminisces about her father's belief that the universe yearns to be noticed. She muses that what humans truly desire is recognition from the universe and its concern over individual fates. Isaac redirects Hazel's thoughts by affirming how deeply Augustus was in love with her and that he had been writing something for her in his last days. In search of Augustus' final written words, Hazel heads to his house. Unexpectedly, she discovers Van Houten, inebriated and in her car. He insists he only wants to apologize for his behaviour in Amsterdam. Visibly distressed, Van Houten admits that Hazel reminds him of the character Anna, who was based on his own daughter who succumbed to cancer when she was eight. Hazel presumes that An Imperial Affliction was Van Houten’s way of giving his daughter an extended adolescence. Hazel advises him to return home, sober up and write a new novel. He agrees, taking a swig of whiskey, before exiting the car. Upon reaching Augustus' house, Hazel dines with his parents and brings up the writing Augustus was doing. They inform her that he had not used his computer often in the past month, but she is welcome to look. Hazel finds nothing but an analysis paper on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. There are no handwritten notes either. Augustus’ father suggests he was likely too ill to write anything in his last month.

chapter 24

Several days after Augustus's passing, his father calls Hazel to share the discovery of a blank notebook near his son's hospital bed, with the first few pages missing. Intrigued, Hazel and Isaac venture to the support group in hopes of finding the torn pages in The Literal Heart of Jesus but their search yields no results. During the support group meeting, Hazel confesses to Patrick her longing for death. In a conversation with Isaac, she concludes that she persists to bear witness to the universe and repay a debt to those no longer living and those yet to be born. Upon returning home, Hazel intends to rest but her mother insists she eat something. Frustrated, Hazel confronts her mother about her impending death and the inevitable future where her mother will no longer have a child. Her mother corrects this misconception, asserting that she will always remain Hazel's mother and points out Hazel's undying love for Augustus as an example. Hazel expresses concern about her parents' lives post her passing, to which her mother discloses her ongoing online classes for a master's degree in social work. This news, she explains, is not about envisioning a life without Hazel, but about equipping herself to help other struggling families. Hazel is overwhelmed with joy at the news and she even manages to eat a bit of pasta as they watch a TV show. When queried, her parents assure her that they will remain a couple after her demise.

chapter 25

The following day, Hazel stirs from a distressing dream where she is isolated in a vast lake. She is contacted by Kaitlyn who proposes that the missing notebook pages may have been posted to someone. Hazel promptly emails Lidewij, speculating whether the pages were sent to Van Houten. Lidewij pledges to investigate at Van Houten's place. In the interlude, Hazel contemplates her nonexistent future. She arrives at the realization that fulfilled dreams never fulfil people due to the persistent notion of something better to come. Her mother interrupts her thoughts, announcing a family picnic in Holliday Park to celebrate Bastille Day. During the picnic, Hazel ponders over the fake Roman ruins in the park which have aged enough to resemble real ruins. She envisages that both Augustus and Van Houten would admire these ruins. Following the picnic, Hazel and her family pay a visit to Augustus's grave. That night, Lidewij emails Hazel with the news that she located the notebook pages. Despite Van Houten's inebriated state, Lidewij coaxed him to read them. He finishes by saying: “Send it to the girl and tell her I have nothing to add.” When Hazel reads the letter, she discerns the fluctuating handwriting and postulates that Augustus wrote the letter over a few days, possibly under different states of awareness. The letter is a plea from Augustus to Van Houten, asking for his assistance in writing a eulogy for Hazel. In his letter, Augustus remarks that everyone yearns to leave an impact, albeit usually a scar. However, Hazel is unique as she attempts to avoid causing harm. The genuine heroes are those who observe and take notice, he writes. He concludes his letter by recounting his visit to Hazel in the ICU after his cancer returned. He adds that while we cannot avoid pain, we can choose who inflicts it. Augustus chooses Hazel and hopes she reciprocates his sentiment. The novel ends with Hazel's affirmation: “I do.”

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