Setting: Self-help group in the basement of an Episcopal church in Indianapolis/ USA
Time: Wednesday evening, March 28, present day
Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster, Augustus Waters, Isaac
Summary: At the beginning of the chapter, the main character, 16-year-old Hazel Grace tells about her thyroid cancer. She is depressed and does not like to leave home and bed. Despite her hopeless situation, Hazel's mother insists that she attend a support group for teenagers and children with cancer. Hazel is bored there, but goes anyway for her mother's sake.
The support group is led by Patrick. He suffered from testicular cancer himself as a child and was cured. The same six to ten participants always come together. Sometimes one of the participants dies. The sessions follow the same pattern each time. Everyone introduces themselves with their name, age, and illness. After that, there is a lot of talk about fighting and beating the disease.
Hazel meets Augustus Waters there. Augustus lost a leg to osteosarcoma, but is now cancer-free. He accompanies his friend, 17-year-old Isaac, to the support group. Isaac suffers from a rare eye cancer and has already lost one eye because of it. Isaac is scheduled for another surgery on Monday. He will now have his second eye removed. He will therefore go blind.
Hazel immediately finds Augustus cute and the two stare at each other continuously during the session. Later, they talk to each other. After a short time, Augustus confesses to Hazel that he finds her beautiful. He compares her to Natalie Portman and continues to flirt with her. He promptly invites her to his home. There they want to watch the movie V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman.
While waiting for Hazel's mother in the parking lot in front of the church, the two watch Isaac kiss his girlfriend Monica and fondle her with enthusiasm. Both keep reaffirming that their love will "always" last. While Augustus comments on what is happening, he puts a cigarette in his mouth. Hazel is shocked and upset. She can't believe that someone who had cancer would risk his health like that. The violent reaction also illustrates her growing feelings for Augustus. Augustus, however, does not light the cigarette at all. He sees it merely as a metaphor. He puts it in his mouth, but does not give it the power to kill.
Setting: Augustus' car
Time: Wednesday evening, March, present day
Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster, Augustus Waters, Augustus' parents.
Summary: Augustus and Hazel go to his house in his car. Augustus has a terrible driving style and confesses to Hazel that he has already failed the driving test three times. It was not until the fourth attempt that he got his license. Due to his wooden leg, he doesn't feel the pressure and always accelerates or brakes abruptly. Augustus and Hazel both believe that it was the "cancer perk" that helped him get his driver's license: It's a benefit that young people get because they inspire pity.
During the drive, Grace tries to find out about Augustus' condition and asks him about his school. He is currently repeating 10th grade at North Central. Hazel begins to talk about herself. She has been out of school for three years now, since she was diagnosed with incurable thyroid cancer, stage IV with metastases to the lungs, at the age of thirteen. However, she has already earned her high school diploma and is attending seminars at MCC, the local college.
Hazel begins to talk about the last three years since the onset of cancer. First, she underwent surgery and a "radical neck dissection." Later, she was given radiation and chemotherapy to treat the metastases in her lungs. But the metastases came back after some time of remission. She was fourteen years old when water collected in her lungs. Her hands and feet were puffy, her skin cracked, her lips blue. But nothing helped until she finally ended up in intensive care with pneumonia and was in danger of suffocating.
Her doctor managed to pump some water out of her lungs so that the antibiotics could work. She was then tested on the fictional drug Phalanxifor, which is supposed to inhibit the growth of cancer cells but is considered ineffective.
For Hazel, however, it is beginning to work miraculously. Now she has been living for 18 months with minimal metastatic growth. Nevertheless, her lungs are severely compromised, so she is constantly dependent on an oxygen tank and daily intake of Phalanxifor. Hazel is aware, however, that the drug has only given her a bit more time and she still remains terminally ill.
When the two finally arrive at Augustus' house, Hazel meets his parents and has dinner with them. They are very religious and thank the Lord for standing by them in their darkest hours. The whole house is decorated with mottos inscribed on coats of arms, walls, and pillows.
Gus, as Augustus' parents call him, explains to Hazel that his parents see the mottos as "encouragements." Even though at first glance it seems like Augustus is making fun of them, he seems to find comfort in the sayings, just like his parents. They give him and his family support.
After dinner, the teenagers want to watch the movie V for Vendetta in Augustus' room. However, their parents only allow them to do so in the living room. Their strict upholding of religion suggests that they have equally strict moral standards. Nevertheless, Augustus is allowed to show Hazel his room. Here Hazel sees his basketball trophies. Augustus says that at some point he found it stupid to play basketball, but Hazel probes and learns that he threw his last ball the day before his leg was amputated. The more he talks, the more Hazel likes to listen to him.
Augustus also wants to know more about Hazel. Although she considers herself boring, she tells him about her love of literature and her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction. Augustus, who actually prefers action-packed literature, promises to read the rather boring sophisticated book. In return, he wants Hazel to read The Price of Dawn, the novel version of his favorite video game. A first physical touch occurs when he hands her the book.
Later, the two watch the movie in the living room. Hazel thinks it's a boy's movie, but doesn't say so out loud. On the way home, Hazel drives Augustus' car and he sits next to it as a passenger. Her gaze wanders to his wooden leg and she appreciates that he likes her with the oxygen bottle and the face b...