Posts Tagged 'Cancer'

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  318

RAC Book:  Yes

Augustus “Gus” and Hazel meet at a Cancer support group.  Hazel has thyroid cancer that forces her to use oxygen 24/7 and despite a new miracle drug, has always been given a short life expectancy.  She has adjusted to her relatively simple life, but that changes when she meets Gus, who lost a leg to Cancer, but has been Cancer free ever since.  They begin talking and exchanging favorite books.  Gus makes a huge gesture for Hazel so that a dream of hers can come true.  It isn’t until afterward that Hazel realizes how much he really gave to give her that experience.  As these two begin to fall in love they cannot help but wonder how long they really have and what they should do to make every day count.

This story is well-written and engaging.  Hazel and Gus’s story will resonate with young readers because of their sheer honesty and willingness to never give up.  The issues they have to deal with seem so heavy compared with other love stories, but it comes across as uplifting and life affirming instead of depressing.  Highly recommended.

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Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  276

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award Winner

     Rosemary has struggled with her weight for a long time, but whenever she gets upset she turns to food.  Her aunt constantly reminds her to lose weight, which doesn’t seem to help inspire her either.  One New Year’s she decides she is ready to take control of her life and begins dieting and exercising, not always in the best manner.  As she begins to lose weight she finds more confidence than she ever knew she had before.  It isn’t long before she has a new best friend, a boyfriend, and overall happiness.  That all comes crashing down when she learns that her mother is battling Cancer.  Her mother is not the best at opening up and sharing her feelings, which makes it all the more difficult for Rosemary to discuss the matter with her.  Can she help her mother cope with this devastating disease?  Can she do it without falling back into her bad eating habits?

     Rosemary’s story is something any teenager could relate to because she has many insecurities and things she would like to change about herself.  She reaches the point where she is mature enough to realize she has the power to take control and make changes to her life if she wishes, but is not ready to deal with truly tough issues yet.  Rosemary’s romance is sweet because her boyfriend likes her for herself and not what size she wears.  There are references to his family that shed light on his endearing personality.  Rosemary goes from wishing she could stop eating sweets to finding ways to help her mother during this difficult time.  It is a coming of age story that readers will enjoy.

Princess of Las Pulgas by C.Lee McKenzie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  348

RAC:  Yes

Carlie, her mother, and her brother must move from their home after the death of their father/husband due to the mounting medical bills.  Not only must they leave their home, school, friends, and neighborhood, but they must move to a rough part of town that is the rival of their old school.  When they begin their new life they are all still dealing with the loss of their father/husband and therefore appear disengaged from their daily activities.  Carlie in particular is targeted as being standoffish and is criticized for believing she is better than everyone else.  Can she ever find a place for herself in this new school?  Will she ever find a way to cope with the loss of her father?

This story shows how the death of a loved one can and often does affect every aspect of a teenager’s life.  Carlie’s mother is clearly struggling with the loss of her husband, but at the same time is having a difficult time helping her children come to terms with the loss of their father.  Carlie’s brother, Keith, and herself handle their new surroundings differently, but the reasons behind their actions are very much the same.  Carlie’s perception at her new school clouds her experience and makes her easy fodder for bullies.  All in all, a good story about a family coping with death and transition after death.

Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor

 

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  290

2010 Iowa Teen Award Winner

RAC Book:  No

Addison and her mother have just moved into a trailer because her mother divorced Addie’s stepdad and he got custody of her two little sisters.  Dwight, her stepdad, promises to check up on her and bring the girls to visit, but Addie is not convinced that this will happen.  She misses them so much because she knows that life with her mother is unpredictable and hard.  As time goes on, Addie befriends the two people who work in the mini-mart across the parking lot.  Her mother disapproves, but Addie enjoys hanging out with them and knows she can always count on them.  Addie’s mom starts spending more and more time away from the trailer working on a new “business” and Addie begins to wonders when she’ll ever have a normal life and a normal family.  She begins to think she should stop thinking about it in case it never happens. 

Addie’s story is very believable as there are many young people out there who live in unstable homes with unreliable parental figures.  Due to the fact that Addie is very responsible, her mother takes advantage of her and treats her like another adult instead of like a child.  The characters are compelling and interesting.  Addie’s problems continue to get worse and it’s easy to see how she might begin to feel hopeless, but there is always a glimmer of hope and the story has a satisfying ending that will leave young readers happy.   Highly recommended for late elementary and junior high readers.

Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  143 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Award:  Iowa Teen Award Winner 2009-2010

Izzy is a fifteen year old girl telling the story about when she was diagnosed with Lymphoma and how her life changed because of it.  This is a story about a girl who survived Cancer, but that does not mean it was easy.  Izzy had to struggle with terrible side effects from the Chemo, being treated differently at school, and even watching her family suffer as they watched her become weaker.  Izzy was surprised at how different people reacted to the news that she had Cancer.  Some people believed she must have done something bad in a past life, others kept telling stories of people they knew who had Cancer and died, and still others left her alone because they did not know what to say.  She missed the days when all she worried about was school and tests, but Izzy makes it very clear that her story is important because not all people die from Cancer.

This is an honest story about a young person with Cancer.  It depicts the many difficult aspects of having Cancer, both physical and mental.  Amy Goldman Koss wanted a book out there that did not end with a person dying because there are too many books and movies that end that way.  She wanted a book about a person who fought it and lived.  The reactions of Izzy’s friends and family were also interesting and might help any young people who know someone who is very sick.  It can be difficult to know how to react in a situation like this.  An interesting and quick read.


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