By Lesley Choyce
ARC paperback, 179 pages
2017, Orca Book Publishers
Expected Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Trevor has known for a year that he has Huntington’s disease, but when he’s sixteen he finds out he might only have a year left to live. Wafting between apathy and depression, Trevor isn’t doing much with what could be his last days on earth, until he meets ninety-three year old, Plank. The old man gives Trevor some simple advice: just live. Trevor finally begins to make the most out of his time and starts by speaking to the beautiful cancer patient he’s often seen at the hospital, Sara.
I requested this book from the LibraryThing giveaway because even though the protagonist is sixteen, the book was giving me middle-grade vibes and also I thought it would be moving. Unfortunately, this book was a huge flop for me.
It felt like Fault in Our Stars ultra diet lite. Lighter than that even; it’s more like a first draft or an extremely detailed outline of two teens trying to make sense of their potentially terminal illnesses and live the lives they want while they still have time. The writing itself isn’t bad, just bland and the plot and characters have no real substance.
Trevor doesn’t feel like a teen with a terminal illness. He feels like a character outline of a teen with a terminal illness. Same with Plank, his elderly mentor; he’s old, falls asleep often, lost his wife and thus sometimes doles out sage advice, and occasionally offers Trevor a beer or falls ill to spice up the plot. Sara would likely be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in a more fleshed out novel, but instead is the ghost of a tough girl with cancer who wants to live, likes taking her wig off at random moments and wants to have a baby at sixteen, while still undergoing chemo (uhhhh wut?)
There simply aren’t enough pages to tell a meaningful story. There’s only one semi-emotional event (or, maybe there were more but they were one sentence so I completely missed them) and it did nothing for me because the character was undeveloped and the scene rushed. I’ve read shorter middle-grade books and even novellas that manage to pack a lot of story and character into a low page count, but I think this book needs serious development.
I can’t say I would recommend this book, but I can say that I like the cover design on the ARC! There’s not enough weight to the characters or the plot but had there been, I think this could have been a solid read. The idea is there, but the execution didn’t do it for me.
I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.