Hazel tells her mother about Augustus offering to use his wish to take her to Amsterdam and her mother initially turns the offer down, saying it's too much, but then relents and says they can talk to Dr. Maria. Dr. Maria says that Hazel can't go without someone who knows her case well, meaning Hazel's mom would have to go and leave her father at home. Her mom relents to this idea too, saying she'll have to talk to Gus's parents and plan things out. Hazel has a headache, so she goes to bed to think about Augustus. She thinks about their picnic, saying that it felt "Romantic, but not romantic" (p.93) and knowing that she hadn't wanted to kiss him then and would have to if she went away on a trip abroad which he has funded. She calls Kaitlyn to discuss the situation, though the conversation is not one of much substance. Hazel realizes that why she is pulling away is because she doesn't want to hurt him, thinking about his previous girlfriend Caroline.
Hazel looks at Caroline's Facebook page, comparing their looks and scrolling past posts from her friends. Hazel notices that she still has a headache and that her shoulder hurts when she is called for dinner, but decides it is because she was thinking about a girl who died of brain cancer. Her parents notice that she is being quiet at dinner, first thinking it is sweet but then scolding her for being "teenagery" (p.99). Then, she goes off at them, releasing pent up emotion that had been building; she tells them that it's a waste of time to go on dates with anyone when she is a "grenade" ready to blow up and hurt all of the people around her. In her room, she goes back to Caroline's Facebook page and tribute pages, hoping that when she dies that people will have more things to say and think that she did than just "Have Cancer" (p.100). She finds a post about Caroline from her mother talking about how Caroline, because of her brain tumor, had stopped dealing with her anger in a "socially acceptable manner" (p.101) especially because she lost the ability to speak. Hazel, urged on by this image, texts Gus that she can't "kiss him or anything" (p.101). He responds in an understanding and even flirty manner, but she shuts this behavior down by ending their conversation with "Sorry" (p.102).
Hazel tries to go to sleep, but her parents come in to tell her that she isn't a grenade to them and that she can do whatever she wants - stop going to Support Group even - as long as she stays in school. Her mother gives Hazel her stuffed animal named Bluie to sleep with and, though Hazel protests a little, she falls asleep cuddling him. Hazel awakes in the middle of the night screaming from the excruciating pain. Her parents drive her to the hospital and she says that though people always talk about the courage of cancer patients, she would have been happy to die at that time. Hazel awakes in the ICU at the Children's Hospital. She awakes and her parents are summoned who fill her in on the fact that she does not have a brain tumor or any tumor growth at all but had a headache caused by poor oxygenation from how much fluid had accumulated in her lungs again. They were draining her lungs and would have to use a BiPAP machine that helps her breathe at night. Her parents leave her again with the nurse who kindly fills her in on the events of the couple days she has been out of commission along with telling her that a kid has been in the waiting room for days but hasn't been allowed to come in to see her.
For six days Hazel stays in her ICU room, alternating between boredom, sleep, and pain. Medical students watch her, she is told and un-told that she'll be allowed to go home, and then finally she is really released. Hazel goes out to see Augustus and they are happy to see each other, though she reminds him that they can't be together. He tells her that he corresponded with Peter Van Houten more in her absence and gives her a letter. At home, Hazel reads the letter; it discusses the nature of Hazel and Augustus as star-crossed lovers, her too sick and he not sick enough for their relationship to work, finishing with telling Augustus that if Hazel wants to spare him pain then he has to allow her that. Hazel, finishing the letter, asks her mother if they and the doctors can reconsider whether she can still travel.
A few days later, Hazel is at a "Cancer Team" meeting comprised of her, her mother, Dr. Maria, and various other doctors, social workers, and other professionals associated with her illness. There is disagreement, with conversation largely between Dr. Simons and Dr. Maria regarding her lung fluid and status in the Phalanxifor trial. Hazel suggests a lung transplant, but Dr. Maria says as kindly as possible that she wouldn't be a good candidate. Hazel remembers back to her "miracle" - the time that she almost died because of her lungs filling with fluid - and remembers something that her mother said when she thought Hazel couldn't hear - "I won't be a mom anymore" (p.117). The meeting ends by deciding the only thing changing in Hazel's regimen will be more frequent fluid draining and with disagreement between the doctors - Dr. Simons still negative about the idea of travel while Dr. Maria says that it's Hazel's life to live and choose, despite the risks. This is not enough, however, because he parents say that without medical consensus they will not be going.
Augustus calls that night and she tells him the bad news. He laments that she cannot go but also his fate, potentially dying a virgin. Hazel jokes back and after they get off the phone she watches TV with her parents and then curls up with her BiPAP, which, while uncomfortable, she compares in sound to cuddling next to a sleeping pet dragon. In the morning she wakes and hangs around lazily, drafting another email to Peter Van Houten pleading for answers and then trashing it as too pitiful. In the afternoon she calls Augustus but gets his voicemail. Sitting outside she thinks that she would rather have a few healthy days than many sick days, and though she tells herself not to think that way she begins to cry. Gus calls while she is crying and when he asks why she gives a slew of answers - not going to Amsterdam, wanting to know what happens after An Imperial Affliction ends, not wanting her life of sickness, the sky, and finally the swing set in her backyard which her dad built her when she was a kid. Augustus promises to be over in twenty minutes to see the "old swing set of tears" (p.121).
Augustus meets her in the backyard and they talk about their relationship again, him warning her, “all efforts to save me from you will fail” (p.122). They sit together, him holding her, until he decides something must be done about the swing set. They go inside together and write a post advertising a free swing set, riffing humorously to create the posting. They watch TV but then switch to Augustus reading An Imperial Affliction aloud; as Hazel says then “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” After reading, they check on the post and find many requests, choosing one from a man who pleads that his kids never go outside.
The next morning, Hazel finds a letter from Peter Van Houten’s secretary, Lidewij Vliegenthart, with plans for the trip next week Hazel had believed to be called off. Hazel yells for her mother, causing her to run out of the bathroom, wet and panicked. Her mother regains her composure and breaks the news to Hazel - Dr. Maria called the night before and advised them that they should let Hazel live her life and take the trip.
The day before the trip to Amsterdam, Hazel returns to Support Group. She talks to Lida, a girl who survived appendiceal cancer and likes to compete and gossip at Support group, then talks to Isaac for a bit and zones out for the beginning of the session. During the session, Lida calls out Hazel for her strength, to which Hazel responds “I’ll give you my strength if I can have your remission” (p.131), though she feels guilty afterward. Isaac invites Hazel to his house and she accepts. They play a video game for the blind, again of the same world as The Price of Dawn, which entails talking yourself through mystery and battle rather than watching the screen and using a controller. They discuss Gus’s problem with video games, which is that he works so hard to save others and martyr himself for a cause that he sometimes misses the larger plan.
The next day, Hazel and her mom wake up at 5:30 to catch a flight at noon simply because her mother is excited and perhaps more than a bit worried. Hazel becomes jokingly fixated during breakfast on why eggs can only be breakfast foods, pausing only to say goodbye to her father who she realizes must think she might die before he sees her again every time they part. Hazel and her mom drive to Augustus’s house where, from outside, they hear a crying, screaming fight. Instead of knocking on the door Hazel sends Augustus a text saying they’re outside waiting, and Augustus comes out only a few minutes later looking fully ready. They head to the airport where they are passed through a special security check, but at the metal detector Hazel decides that she wants to go in and be scanned like anyone else without her oxygen tank. She first feels a lightness and a comforting singularness, but after passing through she feels a rush of pain and must take labored breaths with her cannula to regain rightness. They arrive an hour early in their terminal and Gus quickly leaves, saying that he’s going to get some food. Hazel worries that something has happened when he doesn’t come back after a long while, but he arrives back with food just in time for pre-boarding. They go ahead, with everyone watching them because of the physical signs of their illness, but on the plane Augustus resumes conversation about the place of eggs as if nothing has happened. Soon, however, he apologizes for leaving them at the gate, saying that he doesn’t like when people stare.
When the plane starts to taxi, Gus begins to get freaked out, and only once they are in the air does he fully revel in the experience of flying which it seems he never has before. Caught up in his enthusiasm, Hazel kisses him on the cheek. They land in Detroit, transfer, and then are on their flight to Amsterdam. Hazel’s mom gives them each a sleeping pill, but it doesn’t work for either Gus or Hazel so they talk for a while and then decide to watch a movie. They settle on 300, an action movie Gus has not seen, which is full of senseless gore and bodies and enthralls Gus but does little for Hazel who instead watches his face and then puts her head on his shoulder. After the movie ends they talk about how many people died in the movie and in the world; Hazel had thought their might be more people alive than had ever died, but Augustus assures her that he knows there are 14 dead people for every one alive. They switch to reading, and Hazel recites some poetry for Gus. At the end of her poem, Gus tells Hazel that he is in love with her, silencing her protests with an even more urgent profession. While she feels a “weirdly painful joy” (p.154), she does not say it back to him, and eventually he turns away to sleep.
As Hazel looks at Caroline's Facebook page, she and the reader are able to note what things are parallel and what are in stark contrast. The first thing Hazel notes is their appearance: once affected by cancer they look similar, but before cancer they looked very different. In this way, she feels her body ruled by cancer in the same way as this other girl, and feels understanding rather than animosity. However, in reading the posts, she sees that their cases were very different, especially in the way that cancer affected their emotions (bringing Hazel to a point of depressed introspection and an existential outlook, but not to a lack of processing and resultant rage). Reading the posts on her wall is also ironic to Hazel, she is able to witness the way that people trying to glorify her pigeon-hole her into a life only about cancer and how people seek attention and comfort from posting on her wall even though she can't receive their thoughts or writing.
The title of the book, 'The Fault in Our Stars', is directly referenced in one of Peter Van Houten's letters in which he writes "Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves.' Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars" (p.111). The theme Green calls out again in this letter is a lack of agency. Though Cassius seems to say that the problem is not fate but within oneself, Van Houten argues that that is easy to say when one is privileged but becomes apparent as untrue when one lives through true adversity. Green's title, then, calls out this theme directly, both the romance of star crossed lovers and the inability to steer their lives individually and together to be what they would have wanted.
Love is discussed many times in this passage, with Hazel staying strong in her lack of commitment or response to Gus's repeated professions of love but feeling love for him herself when he reads to her at her house. Hazel seems to love Augustus most when he is not acting - is not putting on a show of coolness or feeling the need to save someone, but reading to her or experiencing glee at a plane flying. The times that he does get on a kick about violence and martyrs, Hazel does not fully understand, which will be brought out later in the differing ways they view death, especially as they potentially approach their own at a young age. For the time being, however, Hazel has still decided to keep him at a safe distance.
The scene in which Hazel's mom rushes out of the shower turns, as happens every few chapters, a brief eye to the inner mental lives of the parents in the story. Though Hazel's father is often shown and analyzed almost pityingly through Hazel's eyes, seeing Hazel's mother's panic even when the reader knows that Hazel is absolutely fine and even happy demonstrates the level of worry that she constantly must live at, especially with the trip looming ahead. In this moment, Hazel does not seem to notice, again revealing how quickly she can remember and forget again the strife of her parents.
The stares that Hazel and Gus get in the airport, like the comparisons between different people Hazel can handle spending time with and why, again serve as almost a cautionary tale for the reader. Gus, perhaps because the result of his illness is more hidden, cannot take the stares and has to leave quickly. Hazel, used to the stares, notes them but does not react strongly. She understands that to most others her life is ruled by cancer, knowing that to some extent it is true and evidenced by the technology that reveals her status to others, paralleling to some extent her acceptance of cancer and even death that Augustus seems to lack, especially later in the book.