Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Publisher: Graphia
Pages: 204
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Summary: 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. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even 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.

I found this one on the debut author list and decided to read it based on the title. Let that be a lesson to me.
The concept sounds pretty interesting. Austin is a teenager dying from cancer. He decides that in the little time he has left on this Earth, he’s going to visit the important people in his life: a dead friend’s mother, a rape victim he fell out of touch with, his own parents, etc. He doles out bits of wisdom to them and invites them to share their feelings. At the same, he’s going to try to get Kaylee, his best friend and personal chauffer for this venture, to fall in love with him before it’s too late.
How do I put this delicately (actively pulling back the snark that is so desperately trying to get out)? This book and I did not see eye to eye. At all. I know that Austin is dying of cancer, but I found him insufferable. He was insanely judgmental and decided that since he was dying, he was the expert on life and could “fix” everyone’s problems for them.
The main problem I had (aside from my virulent dislike of Austin) was that this little two hundred page book tried to take on too much. For instance: adolescent-onset cancer, rape, drug problems, teen death, adultery, (almost) divorce, coming out to a friend, general life spinning out of control stuff were the issues touched on. There was certainly not enough room in this book to go into three of the issues listed here, let alone seven or eight. The fact that this book tried to take all of this on made it read like a pack of (judgmental) pamphlets.
What did I like? The fact that Austin took a little road trip during his final days. I liked when he and Kaylee went to a carnival (probably because they didn’t talk to anyone there and just enjoyed it). That part showed Austin trying to live his life to the fullest before he died. This book would definitely have benefited from more carpe diem-ing and less Dr. Phil-ing.
Mine is only one opinion, check it out for yourself if you’re interested.

Rating: 1 - bad.

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