Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Richie has cancer and he is going to die, soon. He's been fighting it for over half his life and is out of options. Now, he lives in a hospice (filled mostly with old people) waiting out his last days. He could be laying in bed dreading the end, but Richie is a teen after all. At this point, what does he have to lose? So he keeps life as interesting as possible for himself. It helps that another teen, Sylvie, is across the hall.

With Sylvie, there is the possibility of at least having a girl who likes him. Sylvie is way too pretty and out of his league - Richie knows there is no way he would have had a shot with her if they were both healthy. But now here she is, still beautiful in her frail state and hanging out with him.

Richie's mother has raised him all on her own refusing help from even her own mother. She is strong and has worked hard to give them both a good life. Her constant vigil in his room makes it difficult for Richie to be free, so one week when she is sick and not allowed in the hospital he takes advantage of it.

Two teens with little time left can create much chaos for their parents and the hospice staff. Even the staff who want Richie to be his 17 year old self are uneasy with some of his behavior (like a few Halloween pranks on hospital visitors). And Sylvie's dad might literally kill Richie if he is caught with Sylvie again.

This could have been an incredibly depressing story about a teen with cancer, but is instead a humorous look at a young man making the best of his situation. He is surrounded by people who love and support him even when he makes bad choices (you know, how all teens should be). Even though death is never far, his head is full of normal teen thoughts - fun, sex, childhood and his family.

For more info, check out the Evergreen library catalog and the author's site.

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