Thursday, February 9, 2012

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Have you entered my Follower Love Giveaway Hop yet?
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
HMH Children's Books, January 17, 2012
Read for 2012 Debut Author Challenge AND 2012 Standalone Challenge

Warning: this review contains SPOILERS. But so did the freakin' summary, so there.

Summary from Goodreads & the back of the book: (I want you guys to understand my review and the summary has so much to do with it):
I had the dream again. The one where I'm running. I don't know what from or where to, but I'm scared, terrified really.Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. He probably won't see the end of the year. But in the short time he has left. there's one thing he can do" He can try to help the people he loves live--even though he never will.
It's probably hopeless.
But he has to try.
First of all, this was a super-quick read. I'm talking two hours, tops. Secondly, I feel that the summary really ruined the novel for me, because Megan doesn't spend the novel talking about the fact that Austin has a terminal disease. It's alluded to, which I thought was the most brilliant thing about this debut. Austin shows up at a party and the guy charging admission takes a look at him and waves him through. There are other scenes where strangers look at him sadly, knowingly, and we don't really know why. EXCEPT THAT THE SUMMARY GAVE US THE REASON. Even the Library of Congress summary on the copyright page is purposely more cryptic: "Seventeen-year-old Austin, aware that life is short, asks his best friend and secret love, Kaylee, to take him to visit people and places in and around Tacoma, Washington, so that he can try to make a difference in the time he has left." THAT is the summary that should have been used. It alludes to what's going on, but it doesn't spell out what happens in the last few chapters.

This book could have just been about a kid who decides to spend his weekend righting all the wrongs in his life, trying to help his friends out of jams, and finally telling the girl of his dreams he loves her. AND THEN in the last two chapters he could reveal that he has a terminal disease and is dying. That is the novel Megan Bostic wrote, and it was extremely powerful (although it was somewhat convenient that so many of Austin's friends/family had screwed up so much). Unfortunately, knowing how the novel was going to end just by reading the back cover took some of that power away.

Borrowed book from the library.
Enjoy your reading!

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