by Megan Bostic
Publication Date: January 16, 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene
Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate his Leukemia is progressing the doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatments. So he's decided to it's time to let go.If you just read the summary to Never Eighteen and thought to yourself "gosh, this book sounds like a real tearjerker" then you would be right. This is ONE SAD BOOK. I'm warning you now: do not read this in public unless you are prepared to have people stare at you with tears streaming down your face. Not even joking. I don't cry very often or very easily (I can count the number of movies and books I've cried at on one hand) so I thought it would be fine to read this book in the car on a family road trip. Boy was I wrong. I've never read anything quite so tear-inducing in my life.
But before he goes, Austin wants to fix the things that have broken in his life. So with the help of his best friend and secret crush, Kaylee, Austin embarks on a journey. He travels to the places he's loved and those he's never seen. He visits the people he feels aren't living life, wanting to make them understand what they're taking for granted. And what starts as a way to say goodbye and mend fences turns into a passage of love, acceptance, and meaning.
Never Eighteen is a sad book. But while I might not have gotten my "Happyily Ever After" ending, I did get a beautiful message of hope. Austins journey proved that its never to late to tell someone you love them, to conquer your fears or to reach out to those in need. I didn't end the book feeling sad and depressed. Instead I felt uplifted and strangely happy. Never Eighteen has helped me see that life is what you make it. Its not the challenges, but how you face them, that really matters.
Austin and Kaylee were both wonderful characters that really came alive on the page and I absolutely LOVED their relationship. It was easily my favorite part of Never Eighteen; honest, real, and ultimately heartbreaking. You know an author has done their job when you get to the end of the book and your sobbing right along with the characters.
If you're even just a little bit afraid to read Never Eighteen because you think its going to be too sad don't be. Megan Bostic has created a beautiful story with both somber and lighthearted moments and its worth every minute. Just be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy. You'll need it.
I give Never Eighteen 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.