When Breath Becomes Air

25899336When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Medicine, Philosophy, Life


BLURB:

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. Continue reading

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Review: Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

25131061Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Cancer

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(MISLEADING) BLURB:

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death. Continue reading

Review: Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

25372971Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: S&S/Atheneum
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Illness, Family, Sisterhood, Music, Romance

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BLURB:

Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal… Continue reading

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

12700353Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Fast
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, High School, Friendship, Cancer, Humor

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BLURB:

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight. Continue reading

Best of the Saddest Young Adult Books

Best of the Saddest Young Adult Books

Dear readers, having recently experienced some drama in my personal life – the sad kind – I felt inspired to make a list of the best of the saddest young adult books that I have read.

Let’s get to it!

10 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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This book’s atmosphere in general made me sad. It’s an extremely beautifully-written story focusing on Charlie’s emotional responses to diverse situations and his overall thoughts about the world around him. Continue reading

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

11870085The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Summer, Cancer, Ilness, Romance, Friendship, Family, Life, Dreams

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BLURB:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. Continue reading

Review: Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Death, Love, Family

BLURB:

A powerful story of loss, second chances, and first love, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future? Continue reading