Read this if you’re in the mood for: contemporary YA, unlikeable characters, strong secondary characters, issues
Summary: Evie is living on borrowed time. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer several months ago and told that by now she'd be dead. Evie is grateful for every extra day she gets, but she knows that soon this disease will kill her. Until, miraculously, she may have a second chance to live.
All Evie had wanted was her life back, but now that she has it, she feels like there's no place for her in it—at least, not for the girl she is now. Her friends and her parents still see her as Cancer Girl, and her boyfriend's constant, doting attention is suddenly nothing short of suffocating.
Then Evie meets Marcus. She knows that he's trouble, but she can't help falling for him. Being near him makes her feel truly, fully alive. It's better than a drug. His kiss makes her feel invincible—but she may be at the beginning of the biggest free fall of her life.
Read this if you like:
SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy
This is another almost anti-TFIOS book about cancer that's not about cancer, with a flawed heroine who suddenly discovers that her terminal cancer isn't going to kill her anytime soon. Like Evie, Alice is complex, dysfunctional, and you want to smack her upside the head on occasion.
Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie's books are the kind that both break your heart and refuse to let you put them down. The same is true for this book!
Hopkins and Reed have extremely different writing styles—Hopkins writes in verse, whereas Reed is a more traditional narrative style. But both deal with hard issues like drug addiction. If you can handle Hopkins, you'll love Reed.
The Rec: I’ll be totally honest—I picked up this book because both the summary and the cover reminded me of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and I wanted to see if this book could hold its own. Spoiler alert: yes it can, and no it’s not a rip off of any kind.
This was not an easy book to read, but it was extremely gripping. I do the majority of my reading on the train to and from work, and this one had me almost missing my stop, and then sitting in my car to finish it before I drove back home. I couldn’t stop reading it, even though Evie made me sad and angry for a lot of the book. It was sad and angry in a good way, if that makes sense. In a way that even though I had a very normal teenage experience—unlike Evie—there were moments when she was fighting with her parents or friends and I thought, “Yes. Yes. I remember feeling exactly like that.” Any time an author writes a teen voice so authentically that it brings up my own teenage memories, I’m impressed.
The Caveat: If you take a look at the summary and think “Oh, just like Fault in Our Stars!” you will be quite wrong. Yes, both books are about cancer, but this is a much darker look into the lives of teenage cancer patients, so you should be prepared for a much, much heavier read than TFIOS.
You should read this book because: Reed’s writing is strong, gritty, and true, and Evie’s story and experiences with PTSD is one everyone should read.
Recommendation by: Sara
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.