Monday, August 11, 2014

Teen Friendship Blossoms in a Cancer Ward

Zac, diagnosed with leukemia, has been through the treatment mill. They're trying a bone marrow transplant, but the odds aren't wonderful. He's been virtually alone in his room for five weeks save for his mother and the nurses. Now an angry girl who plays loud music moves into the room behind his. At first he thinks her music will drive him crazy, but gradually they make contact and become friends.

The characters are very different. Zac is a farm boy. His life used to be spent mostly out of doors, and he misses it. Mia is a popular girl. She wants to have all the things teenagers have including going to the formal later in the year. She doesn't want cancer to disrupt her life. My problem with the characters is that Zac is almost too good, calmly putting up with his therapy in hopes of a remission. Mia is almost too angry. She has the best chance of leading a normal life, the she's so angry she pushes people away. Actually, it's understandable. People become angry when they're frightened.

The story moves slowly. It is the unfolding of a friendship under adverse circumstances, but unless the characters hold your attention, it's easy to put the book down. The parents are characters in the book, but we don't really get to know them. I thought their responses could have played a larger role. Zac's mother is amazing. She's there for him everyday, and although he
sometimes resents it, he knows he's lucky to have her. Mia's mother is single. She and Mia do not get along, but at least she's there and makes the hard decisions. Both kids seems lucky in their parents.

I liked the idea of this book, but reading it showed the problems with the characters and the plot. If you're interested in this very difficult situation for teens, you'll want to read this book. It is well researched, in fact, I believe it's based on the author's experiences. If you're looking for a romance, this isn't it. The plot is a slowly developing, but beautiful friendship.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.