A disabled young woman gets her brain transplanted into the body of an attractive comatose donor.
Rosa, an 18-year-old from London, has been disabled since childhood with an unnamed and vaguely defined terminal nerve disorder. When she gets the opportunity for a groundbreaking, secretive transplant surgery, her family rushes to America. Rosa knows almost nothing about her donor, Sylvia, except that she was a white 18-year-old like Rosa who’s been in a coma since an accident. As Rosa recovers in rehab and builds a secretive romance with Joe, a tattooed white boy, she ponders the nature of her soul. With no rumination about the disability she’s lived with for most of her life, her introspection lacks believability. Even while Rosa worries if Joe loves her or loves Sylvia’s body, she never questions her conviction that in her prior body she’d been nonsexual, ineligible for romance. Rosa relies on her accent and her own mannerisms as identity-building evidence without exploring what it means that she retained them post-surgery. In a shocking and unexamined scene, Rosa and a fellow patient make a friendly date for hospital movie night to see Me Before You, a 2016 romance about a paralyzed man who chooses euthanasia over living disabled—a thoroughly inappropriate rehab-hospital film.
A florid rumination on identity, utterly incurious about science, disability, or what makes life worth living. (Science fiction. 14-18)