Publishers Weekly Review
Dying's lousy at any age, but it's even worse if, like Richie Casey, you're 17. But even in hospice, a lot can happen in a short time, as Richie finds out. Indeed, an almost amazing amount: Richie's uncle takes him out for a night of partying; girls start paying attention to him (and not just Sylvie, the 15-year-old across the hall); there are pranks and fistfights; and Richie gets a chance to be a normal teenager-or as normal as possible, given that he's surrounded by nurses, never knows how he'll feel next, and the annoying harpist in the lobby just keeps playing. In her YA debut, adult author Seamon balances the grim reality of teenagers with terminal cancer with the fact that, cancer or not, they're still teens. Initially, Richie comes across as almost manic, but once readers settle deeper into the story, they will see Richie and Sylvie for who they are and understand that being near death doesn't mean abandoning hope for the life that remains. Ages 14-up. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Being 17 years old is hard enough, but being 17 with cancer can be downright depressing. It's a good thing Richard Casey has found a partner in crime in the mischievous Sylvie Calderone, the 15-year-old girl down the hall in their hospice ward. Staging a Halloween prank together helps take their minds off the harsh reality of their situation: both teenagers have been given less than a month to live. When Richie's mother falls ill with the flu, he finally gets the space he so desperately wants to act like every other teenage boy. Sprung from the hospital by his wacky Uncle Phil, the pair engage in a memorable night of All Hallows' Eve debauchery in the neighboring town of Hudson in upstate New York. Richie runs afoul of Sylvie's drunken father, however, with whom he's had earlier altercations. Things escalate when, back in the hospice unit, Sylvie announces to Richie her plans to lose her virginity with him. The hospital staff, charmed by the pair's romance, turn a blind eye as the two grow closer. The same cannot be said for Sylvie's father, who becomes increasingly unstable as his daughter deteriorates. This heartfelt novel turns out to be much more hopeful than macabre, despite the teens' terminal diagnoses. The language is raw and even profane at times, but hardly inappropriate given the circumstances. Richie can be a little corny, and his uncle is definitely over-the-top, but the book is mostly strengthened by its memorable supporting characters. This novel is respectful of its serious subject matter, yet is an entertaining and heartening read.-Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.