“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? Enough said.”
Smart-mouthed and funny, sometimes raunchy, Richard Casey is in most ways a typical seventeen-year-old boy. Except Richie has cancer, and he's spending his final days in a hospice unit. In this place where people go to die, Richie has plans to make the most of the life he has left. Sylvie, the only other hospice inmate under sixty, has a few plans of her own for Richie. What begins as camaraderie quickly blossoms into real love, and this star-crossed pair is determined to live on their own terms, in whatever time remains.
Dying's lousy at any age, but it's even worse if, like Richie Casey, you're 17. But even in hospice, a lot can happen in a short time, as Richie finds out. Indeed, an almost amazing amount: Richie's uncle takes him out for a night of partying; girls start paying attention to him (and not just Sylvie, the 15-year-old across the hall); there are pranks and fistfights; and Richie gets a chance to be a normal teenager or as normal as possible, given that he's surrounded by nurses, never knows how he'll feel next, and the annoying harpist in the lobby just keeps playing. In her YA debut, adult author Seamon balances the grim reality of teenagers with terminal cancer with the fact that, cancer or not, they're still teens. Initially, Richie comes across as almost manic, but once readers settle deeper into the story, they will see Richie and Sylvie for who they are and understand that being near death doesn't mean abandoning hope for the life that remains. Ages 14 up.
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