Author: Abria Mattina
Publish Date: September 22, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the author. This did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a young adult fiction fan.
- You don't mind tough subjects.
From Goodreads.com: "Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake."
My Two Cents:
I really enjoyed this book. It's a story of love, loss, and letting people get close to us when we need it. It's quite long (according to Goodreads.com, it's 727 pages) but it's worth the journey.
The characters definitely stand out for me in this book. Jem has had a lot of upsets recently in his life. Recently declared cancer-free, he's still dealing with the news. Even if the cancer is gone, he certainly doesn't look like he did before he had cancer. He struggles with still feeling sick with the way that everyone is treating him. People either don't talk to him or talk around him. Even his family still seems constantly worried about his condition. I really liked his character. I thought that the author did a really good job with writing him. He's not perfect and in a lot of aspects, he's sort of a snarky smart aleck but you can definitely see that a lot of that prickliness is a defense mechanism of sorts.
Then comes Willa. She's new to town (well she's lived in the town before) and living with her brother. She has her own issues including watching her own sister die of cancer. But she treats Jem like a real person and not a breakable item. I loved the relationship between Jem and Willa. They are so real with each other (most of the time anyhow).
The friendships and relationships throughout the book were definitely well written and well fleshed out. Mattina gives life to this story through her words. Even though the book is quite long, you do get sucked right in and the book holds on to you until the very end. This book deals with a lot of tough and good topics. I think that young adult readers will definitely get a lot out of the stories and subjects within the book.
Bottom line: The characters are the real stand outs in this book.