A teen and her loved ones battle her liver disease.
Malone (The Art of the Swap, 2018, etc.) presents a badass high school senior in need of a liver transplant. Eighteen-year-old Lia Linehan has grown up aware that her rare congenital condition, biliary atresia, could someday cause her liver to cease functioning, but, up until the novel’s start, she has never let that knowledge in any way constrain her interests or actions. In fact, one might argue that her passionate disposition and affinity for roller derby, where Lia relishes her role as a speedy, take-no-prisoners jammer, all stem from her refusal to be cowed by her health condition. All that changes radically in the spring of her senior year, when a spontaneous upper-GI bleed at a derby bout makes Lia spew blood, turning the track “into the set of a slasher film.” Lia, her best friend, and her family must then come to grips with the harsh reality that her liver has begun to fail and the timeline for needing a lifesaving transplant has greatly shortened. Told from Lia’s perspective, Malone’s realistic narrative presents her protagonist’s resulting identity crisis well as she reckons with the perceptions of others and ultimately her own understanding of herself as a “MAYBE/MAYBE NOT DYING GIRL.” Major characters are assumed white.
Frank yet empathetic, Malone’s gritty portrayal of interpersonal relations offers readers a telling example of a life-and-death ordeal from the inside out. (author’s note) (Fiction. 13-adult)