In this exquisitely written and emotionally charged young adult debut, critically acclaimed author Jennifer Gilmore explores how sometimes the wounds you can’t see are the most painful.
Did you know your entire life can change in an instant?
For sixteen-year-old Lizzie Stoller, that moment is when she collapses out of the blue. The next thing she knows, she’s in a hospital with an illness she’s never heard of.
But that isn’t the only life-changing moment for Lizzie. The other is when Connor and his dog, Verlaine, walk into her hospital room. Lizzie has never connected with anyone the way she does with the handsome teenage volunteer.
But the more time she spends with him and the deeper in love she falls, the more she realizes that Connor has secrets and a deep pain of his own . . . and that while being with him has the power to make Lizzie forget about her illness, being with her might tear Connor apart.
One minute, counselor-in-training Lizzie Stoller is teaching archery to a group of campers. The next, she is incapacitated by pain. Thus begins Lizzie's ordeal, fighting a life-threatening disease. In her first YA novel, adult author Gilmore (The Mothers) movingly expresses a teen's changing perspective, highlighting a series of turning points during a few months of Lizzie's 16th year. During her illness, eventually diagnosed as ulcerative colitis, Lizzie's separation from the world leaves her lonely and afraid. When she finally arrives home from the hospital exhausted and vulnerable, she feels disconnected from her old life and friends. More real to her are cherished moments she spent with Connor, a hospital volunteer who experienced a trauma of his own. Lizzie can't let go of her memories of their intimate conversations, but Connor's instability may prevent them from having a relationship. Reading this dramatic romance is both a painful and mesmerizing experience. The reward comes in Lizzie's recognition of her own strength and resilience as her focus shifts from what she can't do to what she can still accomplish. Ages 14 up.