Monday, November 3, 2014
This book reads like a somewhat light school story but it has depth to it, particularly at the end where Chia finally makes it to the 5k. The effect the cancer has on Chia's life feels totally true to how an eighth grader would deal with such a blow both in terms of her reaction and the rest of the family. It sounds very heavy but the story overall never sinks into "problem" book or drama but just deftly integrates a heavy topic into a teen book.
I often start my summaries and reviews by looking at other reviews to remind myself about some of the details of the book. One such review says that this is a "hilarious" story. I would whole-heartedly disagree with that assessment of this book because I didn't find it funny nor do I think it's meant to be (but the author is free to write to dispute that point with me). I point this out not to disparage the book, but only because I hate it when books or movies are sold as something they are not which I think does them a disservice.
So with that out of the way, let me say that I really, really liked this book. It did one of the things I like most about a book - made me think about it after I had finished it. In fact, I had only planned to read to page 200 at one sitting but upon arriving there, decided to read to page 276 so that I'd only have another 100 pages to read the next day. When getting to 276 I was so absorbed by the re-introduction of two missing characters that I had to keep going and I finished the book that night. I liked that Starbird's commune was not filled with evil people even though it was a cult. I'm not saying her upbringing was ideal, but it was easier to see why she felt such a bond with everyone. Even the long absent EARTH was not the villain he would've been in other cult stories. The depth of characters as well as Starbird's growth and questioning kept me enthralled.