After two years in remission, Astrid’s brain tumor is back—and this time, it’s not going away.
Sixteen-year-old Astrid Ayeroff has a tumor wrapped around her brain stem. Since she’s already beaten cancer once, Astrid’s single mother and her Indian-American boyfriend, Mohit, are convinced she can do it again. Thanks to Astrid’s internship at her doctor’s office, though, she’s learned enough to realize that this time she’s unlikely to survive, even if she enrolls in a promising new clinical trial as Mohit and her mom wish. So while her mother researches experimental treatment options, Astrid investigates cryopreservation, a scientific technique for freezing a body at the moment of death and possibly reviving it in the future. In the process, she realizes she needs to make some difficult decisions about how she wants to live—which means deciding how she wants to die. A deeply felt, nuanced story of coping with terminal illness, McGovern’s (Rules for 50/50 Chances, 2015) novel features a protagonist whose voice strikes just the right balance between poignancy and wit. The well-paced plot prioritizes Astrid’s grief while simultaneously providing windows into the struggles of the people she loves, including a diverse cast of characters. Astrid’s best friend, Chloe, has two mothers; Astrid and her family are assumed white.
A heartbreaking story of loss and grief peopled with nuanced, endearing characters that ultimately leaves the reader with a feeling of triumph. (Fiction. 14-18)