Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.
Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.
Even when she isn't sure what to say.
Even when Olivia misses months of school.
Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.
The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.
In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.
OMG. My heart is a shattered mess on the floor, in a puddle of my tears. That pretty much sums up my feelings about this book!
I was hesitant to start reading this because it’s been very hard to find a well-written “cancer kid” book. Other than A Fault in Our Stars and My Sister’s Keeper, I haven’t enjoyed *any*. I’m picky, though, since I’ve been through this (albeit with a toddler, not a teenager), so I want to feel all the feels and I want the basis of the story to be researched and ring true. Fortunately for me, this one delivered.
I thought that Zoe was a little bit annoying and obnoxious as a narrator to start off with. She definitely grew on me throughout the book, though! There were several things going on at the beginning of the book – they’d been let go from their ballet school (for reasons that were never fully defined – I would have liked a little more detail on that part), they were starting their junior year of high school, Olivia had taken up teaching dance class for underprivileged girls and Zoe has given up dance completely.
It felt very realistic from a friend’s point-of-view – Zoe was upset for Olivia, but at the same time for herself, and her reactions to situations were genuine and believable. Her best friend was battling cancer, and she was forced to go on with her life and still be their for Olivia. Some parts I found really funny – like the cheerleaders and how completely clueless they were. I loved how snarky Zoe was towards them, even though they meant well, it was just too much and I had to laugh.
Part of me knew from early on that this was going to a rough read. As soon as the words “AML” were on the page, I knew in the back of my mind that this wouldn’t be a happy ending. ALL (as mentioned in the book) has a much higher cure rate than AML. I’m familiar with ALL, since it’s the type that my son had, but I know enough to realize that many kids with AML aren’t as lucky as he is. The symptoms and early treatments are very similar, though, and reading about blood counts and the possiblity of bone marrow transplants took me back and felt a little bit like a knife to the heart.
Then I thought…but this is a YA novel, it *has* to have a happy ending. And fooled myself into believing that a miracle was going to happen. So, I was happily reading away, thinking that it would be all sunshine and roses in the end, and then BAM! And I started to cry. Ugly cry. All my emotions poured out for the last 1/4 of the book when I realized what had just happened and how much I actually cared about Zoe and Olivia. I was a little bit taken aback by how emotionally invested I was in the story without even realizing it.
So, basically…I’m telling you that if you like a deeply emotional story that will make you ugly cry, then you need to pick up this book. I finished reading it a couple days ago and I’m *still* trying to put the pieces of my heart back together. I haven’t felt this way about a book in a very long time, and recommend this one whole-heartedly!