Author: Hollis Seamon
Info: Algonquin Young Readers, copyright 2013, 239 pages
Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.
SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.
Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.
In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.
So...this is a book about sick kids. Nothing new there. In fact it often feels like this story has been told enough. But Seamon's sick kids seemed real. The story seemed truthful and not just for the teens. The parents are heartbroken, frustrated, and angry. Oh are they angry. Their anger is infuriating and terrifying, but it's raw and so close to the surface. The teens don't have witty dialogue to make lite of a tough situation. They're annoying and thoughtless. They're stubborn and fierce. They're teenagers.
The Not So Awesome
I don't have anything against the book really. There weren't any moments when I felt the not-so-awesome beast rearing it's awful head. I wasn't too fond of the extremely long paragraphs, but that's a minor issue. And I think there could have been a bit more with the character development. I got a good feel for Richard (probably because the book is living in his head) but for playing such an important part in the story, I never felt like I got to know Sylvie a all, just from Richard's limited view. Nothing she said and nothing she did showed too much personality.
Overall, not the best book I've read, but definitely not the worst. Sure, people are going to compare this to The Fault in Our Stars. I didn't. They were alike in that a young boy and girl are facing death, but the story lines aren't really similar.