AUTHOR: A.J. Betts
PUBLISHER: HMH Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: September 2, 2014 (already available)
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that's a lot about love (and a little about cancer).
Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize
"When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics." So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can't forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.
MY THOUGHTS: I received an invitation from Netgalley to read and review this book and am happy that I did. First let me say, this is a book about cancer, which I feel seems to be the new trend in Young Adult. And while I initially feared it was trying to be another The Fault in Our Stars, I am glad to say I am pleasantly surprised. I do wish I had not read the two books so closely together, but I have to say that I actually liked this one better. Both Zac and Mia are struggling with their illnesses. Zac is extremely likable, but Mia takes some getting used to. However, Betts portrays them brilliantly. I loved the various family dynamics and seeing the friendship between the two main characters develop. There are several pop culture references, which made the book seem even more real. I especially enjoy the way Zac looks at life. One of my favorite quotes in the book is when he is talking about being in the hospital at 3am – “Three is the worst hour. It’s too dark, too bright, too late, too early. It’s when the questions come, droning like flies, nudging me one by one until my mind’s full of them.” I can’t stress enough that this book deserves to be read. Don’t just write it off as “just another cancer book.” Give it a chance like I did and I don’t think many will regret it.
RATING: 4 PAWS