Chapters 1-4

In this popular novel, teenagers Hazel and Gus form an intense bond when they meet in a cancer support group.

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definitions & notes
only words

  1. veritable

    being truly so called; real or genuine
    I was
    veritably swimming in a paralyzing and totally clinical depression
  2. decrepit

    lacking bodily or muscular strength or vitality
    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 and lemonade, sat down in the Circle of Trust, and listened to Patrick recount for the thousandth time his depressingly miserable life story
  3. prospect

    the possibility of future success
    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 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 call his life.
  4. facet

    a distinct feature or element in a problem
    The only redeeming
    facet of Support Group was this kid named Isaac, a long-faced, skinny guy with straight blond hair swept over one eye.
  5. myriad

    a large indefinite number
    I looked away, suddenly conscious of my
    myriad insufficiencies.
  6. proffer

    present for acceptance or rejection
    The hour proceeded apace: Fights were recounted, battles won amid wars sure to 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
  7. proverbial

    relating to or resembling a condensed but memorable saying
    “I fear it like the
    proverbial blind man who’s afraid of the dark.”
  8. naught

    a quantity of no importance
    Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this”—I gestured encompassingly—“will have been for
  9. affliction

    a condition of suffering or distress due to ill health
    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 to a Bible.
  10. deign

    do something that one considers to be below one's dignity
    I feel so fortunate that an intellectual giant like yourself would
    deign to operate on me.
  11. ascertain

    learn or discover with confidence
    “Yes, it’s difficult to
    ascertain whether he is trying to arouse her or perform a breast exam.”
  12. dubious

    not convinced
    “It’s a metaphor,” I said,
  13. aura

    distinctive but intangible quality around a person or thing
    “That explains the
    aura of sophistication.”
  14. doppelganger

    a ghostly double that haunts its living counterpart
    Augustus said, “Hazel and I are going to watch V for Vendetta so she can see her filmic
    doppelganger, mid-two thousands Natalie Portman.
  15. fraught

    marked by distress
    The day of the existentially
    fraught free throws was coincidentally also my last day of dual leggedness.
  16. zeal

    a feeling of strong eagerness
    Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical
    zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.
  17. plumb

    examine thoroughly and in great depth
    (This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be
    plumbed for centuries
  18. suffice

    be adequate, either in quality or quantity
    suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate.)
  19. cohort

    a band of warriors
    “Sadly, the bridge is already under insurgent control due to questionable strategizing by my bereft
  20. feign

    give a false appearance of
    Any attempts to
    feign normal social interactions were just depressing because it was so glaringly obvious that everyone I spoke to for the rest of my life would feel awkward and self-conscious around me, except maybe kids like Jackie who just didn’t know any better.
  21. perpetuity

    the property of being seemingly ceaseless
    it can’t end, then it should at least continue into
    perpetuity like the adventures of Staff Sergeant Max Mayhem’s platoon.
  22. coy

    affectedly shy especially in a playful or provocative way
    I enjoyed being
  23. geyser

    a spring that discharges hot water and steam
    His dismembered body exploded like a
    geyser and the screen went red.
  24. metronome

    clicking pendulum indicating the tempo of a piece of music
    He nodded, the tears not like tears so much as a quiet
    metronome—steady, endless.
  25. double entendre

    a word or phrase with two meanings, one of which is indecent
    Pardon the
    double entendre, my friend, but there’s something a little worrisome in your eyes.”
Created on September 9, 2013
(updated April 17, 2018)