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YA Reivew: Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein

Title: Cursed
AuthorKarol Ruth Silverstein
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 315
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): USA (PA)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): As if her parents' divorce and sister's departure for college weren't bad enough, fourteen-year-old Ricky Bloom has just been diagnosed with a life-changing chronic illness. Her days consist of cursing everyone out, skipping school--which has become a nightmare--daydreaming about her crush, Julio, and trying to keep her parents from realizing just how bad things are. But she can't keep her ruse up forever. 

Ricky's afraid, angry, alone, and one suspension away from repeating ninth grade when she realizes: she can't be held back. She'll do whatever it takes to move forward--even if it means changing the person she's become. Lured out of her funk by a quirky classmate, Oliver, who's been there too, Ricky's porcupine exterior begins to shed some spines. Maybe asking for help isn't the worst thing in the world. Maybe accepting circumstances doesn't mean giving up.

Review: First off, I love this cover! I like the colors, the feelings it evokes, and the cleanness of it. And it totally fits the story.

Ricky is a character that everyone can understand and sympathize with; she's only 14 and dealing with a chronic illness that she will have for the rest of her life. And, middle school/high school students are cruel. Well, not all of them, but it's an age where they are self-centered that just doesn't help her feelings or the actions of those around her. She is angry about so many things, but I love that as the story progresses, she finds out that anger isn't always the best reaction. 

I have a confession: in the beginning of this book I thought, "Can I read a book where the entire focus is on how much pain this character is in? This is getting old." Then I realized that I could walk away, Ricky (and so many others) cannot. Shame on me for wanting her story to be about something else. It is so important that Ricky focus on her pain because it is all encompassing. So, to those out there that suffer, I apologize for my initial thoughts.

The author has arthritis and was diagnosed when she was still in school so she knows what she's talking about and this is evident in this novel. She has captured the medical side, the anger, the frustration, the need for support and more with grace and honesty.

Even if the reader doesn't have a chronic illness, they can relate to Ricky, her family, her friends, and her situation. I haven't read any YA novels about someone with a chronic illness that wasn't cancer so this book is an important and wonderful addition.

Challenges for which this counts: 
For the Pop Sugar challenge, this book is on a subject I know nothing about.

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