Sam's Reviews > A Place in This Life

A Place in This Life by Julie Rieman Duck
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Delightful, yet heart-shattering at times.

For Natalie Miller, it’s just another family vacation. For someone else, it’s the opportunity he’s been waiting for.

With only a single peck from a guy named Frank, Natalie’s anything but experienced with boys. But when Todd pops out of the water, says hi, and tells Natalie he has leukemia, all of that changes.

She’s never had attention like this from a boy, let alone one who’s a real charmer with sex on the brain and the experience to match. Drawn to Todd like a magnet, Natalie gives him her friendship, her love, and her body. Even when she’s tempted by gorgeous, healthy schoolmate Alex, Natalie’s desire to love and care for Todd pushes her to see how far love can go in spite of the potential for death of the relationship — and death of the one she loves.


I've never read a book like A Place in This Life before, where a character has to go through an illness and can potentially die at any moment. It was frightening, but Julie makes up for that by adding humour to the book. This is a wonderful adventure that you won't want to end.

Natalie, a normal girl on holiday, meets the boy that changes everything. Todd, a charming young man, unfortunately dealing with cancer. I didn't like Todd at first, he seemed boring and not worth my time but as the story went on, I became drawn to his startlingly happy and cheerful personality. Natalie didn't react the way many girl would, which is to run away from the scary guy who looks like a skeleton. But Natalie sees past that, to the boy within, yearning to come out. They have an instant connection, it's truly beautiful. They're relationship becomes serious, they see more of each other. That is, until Alex, Natalie's (gorgeous) new locker mate, shows up.

It was hard to see the main character go through pain. Natalie probably felt useless, not being able to help Todd as he suffered through his medication and hospital visits. It was also hard to see such a nice young boy go through such a traumatic experience. I do admire Natalie for being so brave, to fall in love with a boy who might not be in this world much longer.

I feel that the ending was just right. Julie really gave an ending to be proud of. It's one that hits you hard in the chest. One that you want to change so badly but you know that it would be wrong to do so. I cried buckets and I'm sure anyone who reads A Place in This Life will at least shed a few tears.

I know you must all be thinking:
Yeah! I know how it's going to end! It's so obvious!
But let me tell you something, it's not. It's not the ending your expecting. This book truly shows you love and loss, in the most tragic way.

I think this is Julie's first novel? I'm not sure, but one thing I'm sure about is she is going to deliver some good stuff! Overall, this is a book everyone should read, it sends quite a strong message: Hold on to everything you've got. You never know when it might not be there any more. Something along that line, I'm not the best person with words.
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