High school junior Erin Bailey’s whole life changes when her mother is diagnosed with late stage breast cancer.
In an even more unkind twist of fate, Erin finds out that she has inherited a BRCA gene mutation, which means she has a significant risk of contracting reproductive cancer herself. This discovery, along with the loss of her beloved daredevil father in a flying accident a few years before and a less-than-stellar social life, puts Erin at the top of the list of teens facing tough, real-life dilemmas. Help comes in the form of friendly advice she receives from a girl on the BRCA gene website who offers Erin sanctuary on a remote island in Florida. A newly fledged pilot, Erin heads for Florida, hoping to meet up with her new friend. Although what she discovers there will surprise both Erin and readers, she finds support as well, enabling her to weather the further storms of college applications, more teen drama and the inevitable decline of her mother. Although some might look askance at Erin’s unconventional decision to take the genetic test at such a young age, mature teens will appreciate this carefully researched and authentic exposé of a difficult subject. Erin’s first-person, present-tense narration isn’t flashy, but it does get readers effectively in her groove.
A heartfelt, three-hankie exploration of a topic all too many teens must confront. (Fiction. 14-16)