The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

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Chapter 8 Summary

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A few days after Hazel gets out of the hospital, she attends a Cancer Team meeting, a gathering of doctors, social workers, and family members who all discuss her treatment. The doctors say that Hazel’s medication is still working and that her lung tumors are not increasing in size “yet.” Everyone agrees on a plan to “stay the course,” which sounds to Hazel like they are going to “do nothing.”

Hazel asks for a lung transplant, but she is told that she is not a good candidate. She understands what this means: human organs are too valuable to be wasted on a girl who has little chance of survival. This idea makes Hazel’s dad cry, which makes Hazel want to kick herself for speaking up. She reflects that she is “the alpha and the omega of [her] parents’ suffering.”

Reflecting on this fact, Hazel remembers a moment right before her Cancer Miracle, when she was on the brink of death. As she lost consciousness one day, she and everyone else thought she might never wake up. She overheard her mom say to her dad, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Hazel has not told anyone that she heard this, but it hurt her badly. It made her think that her mother might never be okay again.

Near the end of the Cancer Team meeting, Hazel asks if she can take the trip to Amsterdam. One of the doctors laughs out loud and says it is a ridiculous idea. The other takes the opposite stance, advising Hazel to live while she can. Unfortunately, Hazel’s mother sides with the more cautious doctor.

That night, Hazel calls Augustus to announce that she cannot make the trip. He does not seem angry, and he jokes that he only wanted to lose his virginity anyway. Hazel asks if he is really a virgin, and he says that teenage amputees do not typically get a lot of sex.

The following day, Hazel sits in her backyard crying, mostly because it depresses her to be sick and unable to live the way she wants to. For some reason, the sight of her childhood swing set seems particularly depressing to her. She says this to Augustus on the phone, and he comes over. “I see your point…That is one sad goddamned swing set,” he says.  

The swing set is not actually that big of a problem in Hazel’s life, but it is the one problem she and Augustus can actually solve. They write a silly advertisement offering to give it away free online, and soon they find a man with three children who takes it for his kids.

The following morning when Hazel checks her e-mail, she sees a letter from Peter Van Houten’s assistant, Lidewij, discussing plans for the trip to Amsterdam. Hazel calls her mom and says they need to tell everyone that the trip is canceled. But her mom has reconsidered. She talked it over with the doctor again, and they have decided that the trip should go on.

Thrilled, Hazel thanks her mother and texts excitedly back and forth with Augustus. When she is alone, Hazel lifts up her shirt and talks to her lungs. “Keep your shit together,” she tells them.

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