Author: Hollis Seamon
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
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Richard Casey, seventeen years old, is in the hospice unit of the hospital. But even though they’ve told him he’s got less than a month left, he’s not done living yet. In fact, he’s more than ready to make love to the fifteen year-old girl, also in the ward, who doesn’t want to die a virgin. Richard is determined to be the biggest troublemaker the hospital staff have ever seen.
But Richard is under constant watch by the hospital staff, parents and other family members who hover around the ward 24-7, and the “Br’ers” as he calls them – religious staff there to assist in the transition from life to death. All Richard wants to do is have some fun, but no one wants to let him.
A book about dying teenagers would probably only appeal to the more morbid of us. But Hollis Seamon has done a magnificent job of portraying these teens in such a real light. They’re just teens – not adults – and they’re not willing to give up their spunk and personality, no matter what. Even though there is no doubt from the beginning how the story will ultimately end, this is not a depressing tale. My only disappointment is that no one in the story expresses any concern about the afterlife, and how to make sure one ends up in the right place. Overall, this is a great teen read.
Warnings: sexual situations and language
Reviewer: Alice Berger