Kelly's Reviews > Never Eighteen

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
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's review
Jan 14, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: ya-fiction, read-in-2012
Read on January 14, 2012

I found all of the characters in this one to be dislikable, and then I found myself feeling guilty for disliking a teen who was dying of cancer. But my reasoning for disliking the characters, especially Austin, was they were underdeveloped. They were sketches of problems, rather than fully fleshed individuals. Austin himself is on his last leg of life because of his illness, and he's trying to talk sense into everyone around him -- whether they were a strong part of his life or not. He's trying to convince them their lives are worth something (and they are, I don't disagree), but he's also decided (view spoiler).

Austin's trying to be a hero here, and while I want to feel for him and cheer him on, it felt more like sticking his nose into business he didn't belong in. It grated on me each time he spoke as if he knew the best way for everyone else to live. The characters never got my sympathy, and Austin never made me want to give them sympathy either.

This is a short book, but there are a lot of issues tackled here, and because of the length, they're all sketches, rather than anything deeper or stronger. As I've mentioned previously, cancer kid books are hard for me to read because the onus is on the reader to have sympathy. But I didn't have it here. Therefore, I feel guilty. But I shouldn't have to feel guilty because the story itself should have offered me enough heft and development to develop that relationship with Austin. Likewise, I never understood why he liked Kaylee, other than she went along with his harebrained scene without asking many questions. He never really told me why she mattered until the very, very end, which was too late.

Really (view spoiler). For me, this book didn't tread any new territory; while I don't think all books need to do that, this one didn't offer me anything else, either.

As much as this book didn't resonate with me, it's one I can definitely see having a good teen readership. It'll work for more reluctant readers, as well. It's fast-paced (I read the entire thing in about two hours), and the story's cut and dry. No twists, straightforward and serviceable writing, and an interesting premise will hook readers and keep them invested.

Likely will write a longer review of this one. I'm usually not opposed to dislikable characters (in fact, I often LIKE them, but this time the rest of the story failed to keep me engaged.

Full review here:
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01/14/2012 page 105

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