** spoiler alert **
Before I started this book, I thought it was a continuation of Steven's story in Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie. I was disappointed when I realized this story is told through the younger brother, Jeffrey's, eyes and now HE is the 8th grader. Both boys have a fun way of thinking and speaking though, so I liked hearing about things from Jeff's point of view too. While Steven is less of a character in this book, I could understand and relate to both brother's point of views of the good and bad things that happen when you live in a family with a cancer patient. There is no such thing as only the individual being effected. This is definitely a family affair!
I read this book in 1 day and was sad to get to the end (even though it was my fault that I got there so quickly). I want to keep reading about life from an 8th graders point of view forever, I guess. : ) Who knew!? Sonnenblick's writing style is very easy for me to read and be interested in. I like the crap talk that friends do to each other and the stress over girls. I liked how each character was unique in their own way and each had things they were struggling with. None of the main characters are "perfect" and everyone seemed very real. I liked the lessons learned of working hard for stuff, being a survivor, never giving up, etc.
Learning about all the negative side effects from cancer treatments was disturbing for me. Some I already knew about of course, but this book brought it more home for me because it was affecting "people I knew" (Yes, I get into my books a bit when I read) instead of just an in-general list.
This story is full of humor and laugh out loud at times, yet their is plenty of sadness and soberness also. While I was drawn to the story and hated to have to stop reading it, there were a lot of serious questions brought up from the story. I found myself wondering at times if fighting childhood cancer is a good thing. Cancer itself is such a tragedy that it just seemed only more so to read of how the negative side effects changes your life forever. Even 5 years after "beating it" you still have things that are wrong with you because of it.
I just want everyone to be happy!
So, while this book is a quick read, it is much deeper then "fluff". I wouldn't call it light-hearted, but I wouldn't hesitate to read it again. It is a really good story of really real people dealing with really tough stuff in just this game of life. I think there is lots we can all learn from this book and the 1st one--Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie.