BRAVE ENOUGH by Kati Gardner
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 12 - 16
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Cancer happened while prima ballerina Cason was busy making other plans; cancer survivor and recovering addict Davis hangs onto his hard-won sobriety and their deepening friendship.

Cason’s mother, director of an Atlanta ballet company, taught her driven, perfectionist daughter to power through pain, a strategy that works until she’s diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer. On the cusp of professional success and attending school only part-time, Cason’s never dated. She’s smitten with Davis, who is volunteering in the hospital oncology ward where Cason gets chemotherapy and who helps her endure the indignities of treatment. As their mutual attraction grows, each bolsters the other’s self-esteem, but setbacks loom. Davis’ relentless craving worsens after he’s badly beaten for refusing to pay his ex-girlfriend’s drug debt. When Cason’s left leg proves unsalvageable, she lashes out at Davis, already reeling from bad news. Like most of the teen cancer survivors depicted here, Cason and Davis are white, affluent, and blessed with first-rate medical care, but a top-notch support system can do only so much. While their peers stretch their wings and aim for the future, these teens learn earlier than most that today is all we have—and that there can be a bracing power to this discovery.

The debut author, a cancer survivor and amputee, covers challenging physical and emotional terrain in compelling detail with compassionate insight and strong storytelling skills. (author's note, resources) (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-63583-020-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Flux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2018


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