Take 5: Teens, illness, and hospitals
Did you know that under the Teen Issues link up there on the menu bar, you can find lots of great posts and book lists organized by issue? Everything from addiction to violence is covered. If you don’t see a topic covered that you think is of interest, please leave a comment, tweet us (Amanda MacGregor @CiteSomething or Karen Jensen @TLT16), or email us at the addresses provided on the About TLT page.
Take 5: Teens, illness, and hospitals (2014 and 2015)
We all know that plenty of books about teens and illness existed before The Fault in Our Stars, and to say that any of these books are like TFioS is being lazy. However, for readers who loved TFioS and are now looking for other books featuring sick teens, they have a lot to choose from. Here are a few recent titles to suggest to these readers. All descriptions of these recently published and forthcoming books from the publisher.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 5/26/2015
At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.
There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.
But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 1/20/2015
A heartbreaking yet uplifting story of grief about a boy who has lost everything, but finds new hope drawing in the shadows of a hospital. Features a thirty-two-page graphic novel.
Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night, just like the rest of his family.
Now he lives in the hospital, serving food in the cafeteria, hanging out with the nurses, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created—Patient F.
Then, one night, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together though all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside of the hospital, and away from their pasts.
But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront Death, and life will have to get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks destroying any chance of a future.
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication date: 8/5/2014
This novel-in-verse—at once literary and emotionally gripping—follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital room and an illness.
Chess, the narrator, is sick, but with what exactly, she isn’t sure. And to make matters worse, she must share a hospital room with Shannon, her polar opposite. Where Chess is polite, Shannon is rude. Where Chess tolerates pain silently, Shannon screams bloody murder. Where Chess seems to be getting slowly better, Shannon seems to be getting worse. How these teenagers become friends, helping each other come to terms with their illness, makes for a dramatic and deeply moving read.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 9/2/2014
“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 6/2/2015
A teen grapples with ALS and his decision to die in this devastatingly beautiful debut novel infused with the haunting grace of samurai death poetry and the noble importance of friendship.
Abe Sora is going to die, and he’s only seventeen years old. Diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), he’s already lost the use of his legs, which means he can no longer attend school. Seeking a sense of normality, Sora visits teen chat rooms online and finally finds what he’s been longing for: friendship without pity.
As much as he loves his new friends, he can’t ignore what’s ahead. He’s beginning to lose the function of his hands, and soon he’ll become even more of a burden to his mother. Inspired by the death poems of the legendary Japanese warriors known as samurai, Sora makes the decision to leave life on his own terms. And he needs his friends to help him.
If you would like to recommend additional titles on this topic, please leave us a comment. We always look forward to hearing what books others value and recommend.
Filed under: Take 5
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network