Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Title: Somebody Up There Hates You
Author: Hollis Seamon
Year Published: 2013

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 238
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (NY)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book):  SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we--that's me and Sylvie--are the only people under thirty in the whole place, sweartogod. We need to keep things interesting. I mean, we're kids, hospice hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl's got big plans. Only Sylvie's father is so nuclear-blasted by what's happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall. It's crazy.

In the middle of all of this really, there's just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our own way, by our own rules, for whatever time we've got. So let's get to it.

Review: Richard is a great narrator; the author really captured his voice and we know just what he's thinking, saying, planning, and doing. What would it be like to be 17 and on a hospice ward? I cannot even imagine, but Richard brings us along on his journey through embarrassing moments of others helping him shower, moments of fear, and moments of joy and pleasure.

I was afraid this was going to be another The Fault in Our Stars, but it isn't. Yes, both teenagers have cancer and are dying, but that's where the similarity ends. This book is more flip and more on the edge. But it handles that with grace, humor, and realism.

What it comes down to is that Richard is dying and he figures he might as well get in as much "fun" as he can before he isn't able to do anything at all. And there are moments when he is barely able, but he is determined to pull nurses, friends, and relatives into his schemes for a great final ride.

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