Imagine this: You’re Augustus Waters on a plane for the first time, with a full tummy but a burning hunger to fulfill a storyline’s situational irony quota. You pull out a cigarette only to have a stewardess tell you that smoking on a plane is illegal. Do you (a) apologize and put the cigarette away, (b) put it away but take it out when the stewardess isn’t looking, (c) stick it up your ass, or (d) have your girlfriend look the stewardess in the eye and tell her, “it’s a metaphor.”
If you were truly Augustus Waters, you’d know the correct (but at what cost?) answer is (d). The stewardess, of course, will look at you and think to herself, “what the fuck,” but hey! She just doesn’t understand that these teenage “coming of age” metaphors, over the years, have become YA novel staples the same way we fall asleep; slowly, then all at once.
A book similar in themes but far superior in realism, writing, storyline, friendships, and just about everything else, is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews.