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Thursday, January 19, 2012
"Never Eighteen" by Megan Bostic
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Group: Young Adult
Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.
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. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.
But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.
I knew going in that this book was going to make me cry. Austin is going to die and this is the story of him trying to make a difference in other people's lives, before his time is up. I've never been faced with my own mortality, but I'm not sure my last thoughts would be to make other people see that life is for living. Austin was such a noble character.
The book takes place, mostly, over the course of one weekend. Austin has a list of people who were important to him in his life, one way or another, and life has dragged them down. He enlists his best friend Kaylee, and her car, to set out and talk to all of these people. He wants to make them see that things may have been bad, but they are worth overcoming. He wants those close to him, and some not so close to him, to live the life he no longer has. I especially loved the parts with Austin and his parents, they were the most tear inducing, but also the most touching. Parents don't always know everything and sometimes the kid has to do whatever they can to make them see what they are missing, even if it's using their death as leverage.
Compared to the 400 page books that are so common these days, this book was quick read. It didn't matter, though, because Megan Bostic packed one heck of a story into those 200 pages. Spending the weekend with Austin, Kaylee and all of the other characters felt real and by the end I felt for every single one of them. I can't believe how many emotions I felt in such a short time, but it was the best kind of emotional rollercoaster. The end is simply that, for Austin, but for the rest of his world there is so much hope and so much life.
This is definitely one I would recommend picking up, it's such a great story and one that shouldn't be missed. Grab the book, some tissues and spend a couple of hours getting to know Austin, while he reminds you that your life is important.