Terminally ill with Huntington’s at 16, Trevor has nothing to lose and dares to live life at the brink.
Plank is 93 when he pulls young Trevor Marshall from a morbid reverie at the edge of a cliff and thus begins a mentorship to “stop trying to make sense of things and bloody well live your life.” With only a year to live, Trevor abandons religion for Plank’s philosophy and finds the courage to track down a stunningly beautiful cancer patient with an unforgettable smile. Sara turns out to be a wig-tossing survivor who is brazen enough to embrace Plank’s law and convinces Trevor to reach out to his childhood mate, “crazy Brit” Antonio Watson, whose last known antics involved hacking computers and becoming a millionaire in New Zealand. Antonio arrives bringing fast cars, reckless energy, and a tortured spirit. Plank teaches Trevor that “the best parts of your life are the ones you share with someone else,” but with each attachment comes ever greater risk of loss. Plank’s age, Sara’s chemo, and Antonio’s daredevil lifestyle all dance at the edge of mortality. With Trevor’s story, Choyce reminds readers that death is its own storyteller and there are always surprises along the way. The absence of racial and ethnic markers implies a white default.
The backdrop of disease can be elementary fodder for drama, but the story offers fine comedic vignettes and playful dialogue, raising this well above standard illness fare. (Fiction. 14-18)