Teens @ Duluth

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Posts Tagged ‘Illness’

Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

Posted by Laura on May 11, 2009

Lia needs to be weighed every week.  Before each weighing she gulps down as much water as she can and dons her yellow robe with the quarters sewn into the pockets.  She stands on the scale in front of her stepmother and she tips the scales at 107 pounds.  That number is too low.  (According to her stepmother.)

When she goes back to her room and uses her own scale, after peeing out the water and removing the robe, she weighs 99 pounds.  That number is too high.  (According to Lia.)  But it is goal number 1.

The book starts out with Lia being told that her old best friend Cassie was found dead in a motel room, all alone, early Sunday morning.    Lia tells no one that Cassie had called her many times starting late Saturday night.  Lia was too angry at Cassie to answer the phone.  And really, why should she answer a call from a person who abandoned her 6 months ago?

33 times Cassie called.   And now she is haunting Lia.

Lia has anorexia.  Lia is starving herself in control. Except she doesn’t know why Cassie was calling her, or what she wants now. Wintergirls is another riveting book by Laurie Halse Anderson.


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Forever Changes – Brendan Halpin

Posted by Laura on January 27, 2009

Math is good.  So is the book Forever Changes.  Here we meet Brianna Pelletier, an eighteen-year old high school senior with cystic fibrosis who has a fantastic mind for math.

Her mind is so good, in fact, that she could get into MIT.  If she lives that long.  And the math on that doesn’t look good.  Especially when one of the variables is her body which produces thick mucus and makes it very difficult to breathe.

I recommend this book to those who liked Before I Die by Jenny Downham.  Both novels are moving stories with characters that will stay with you long after you have put down the book.  And, as with Jenny Downham’s book, I recommend you have tissues ready.

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Before I Die – Jenny Downham

Posted by Laura on May 30, 2008

Before I Die is also nominated for the Teens Top Ten list this year. This is the story of Tessa, a seventeen year old girl who is dying of cancer. She has decided to go out on her own terms, to stop fighting her death and enjoy the time she has left. She has a list of things she wants to do before she dies. She accomplishes things on her list, for good or for ill. And the list keeps changing.

This book is both heart breaking and life affirming.  You are going to cry, so prep your reading space accordingly.

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Side Effects – Amy Goldman Koss

Posted by Laura on September 10, 2007

Some people really like reading books by Lurlene McDaniel where a teen gets cancer, learns something moving about life, and then dies. I prefer when the teen lives.

The book Side Effects tells the reader first thing that Izzy is going to live. Even the summery states, “Everything changes for Isabelle, not quite fifteen, when she is diagnosed with lymphoma–but eventually she survives and even thrives.”

Not that the road to survival is pretty.  How would you react if you had cancer, or your best friend did?

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