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NEVER EIGHTEEN by Megan Bostic

NEVER EIGHTEEN

By Megan Bostic

Age Range: 12 - 17

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-547-55076-3
Publisher: Graphia

A boy decides he wants to live the last weeks of his life helping others get their own lives into better shape.

Unless they read the back cover of the book, readers won’t learn until late in the story that 17-year-old Austin is dying of leukemia. Meanwhile, it becomes increasingly clear that Austin, thin and weak, has embarked on some kind of mission. Because he never got his driver’s license, he enlists best friend Kaylee to drive him around the Seattle area as he meets with people whom he knows have problems. While Kaylee waits in the car, Austin tries to talk them into making better decisions in their lives. He also treats Kaylee to some Seattle sights and an expensive dinner. Underneath it all, however, Austin looks for the courage to tell Kaylee that he loves her as more than a friend. But will he have time? Bostic writes this graceful, affecting tale without pretension, simply by focusing on Austin himself. She avoids the maudlin, merely writing a boy who knows what he wants and showing his family and his friends as they move toward the final scenes. Perhaps it’s because of that simplicity that the story concludes with such a powerful emotional punch.

There won’t be many dry eyes at the end of this extremely affecting story. (Fiction. 12-17)