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Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Quick-witted, sharp-tongued Connor Lambert won't take it any longer: the bullying, the secrets, the sympathy. He's been dying from cancer for years, but he's not dead yet. He's going down fighting.

Forming an unlikely friendship with fellow juvenile delinquent Skeates, the pair stage a break out and set off on a crazy tour across Scotland -- dodging the police, joy riding
Paperback, 284 pages
Published September 15th 2017 by Floris Books (first published July 20th 2017)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  63 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, physical
*4.25 Stars*

I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Connor is 15 year old and has cancer. His father is in prison and his sister is dead. After he fights at school, while his mother has a breakdown and ends up at the hospital, he is sent to a government housing for minors thing along with his sworn enemy, the boy he fought with, Skeates.
Somehow, Connor and Skeates find common grounds, escape before their hearing and start a trip from the isle of Lewis to Shotts, near
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am definitely glad to see an adventurous and funny YA book about male friendship and crazy road trips, but for me there was something missing. I found the book to have no real depth and I never felt any warmth from the characters. Events unfolded way to quickly and unrealistically, but I did enjoy the silliness and Scottish slang.

Cindy Huskey
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I could've held my eyes open for 20 more minutes, I would've finished this book in one sitting. It is really that good! I particularly enjoy books with quirky characters that make me laugh, and this one certainly does not disappoint.

When Connor comes home to his neighbor, Mrs. MacDonald because his mother had to stay in Inverness overnight for work:

"Yes, Mrs. MacDonald. Thanks, Mrs. MacDonald. I'm fine, Mrs. MacDonald. My mum is OK, Mrs. MacDonald. She likes to be busy, Mrs. MacDonald. No, sh
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist by John Young centres on the story of Conner, a teenager who has been battling cancer for almost half his life. He is swept along on an adventure with Skeates, the local school bully, with whom he forms an unlikely alliance and who somehow along the way becomes a good friend. It is a darkly funny book which deals with the themes of friendship, love, sickness and death in typically Scottish fashion. The book is full of raw emotion but no over-sentimentality. W ...more
Lisa Bentley
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
One trend in YA fiction is to give the main character a medical condition. It’s not new but it has been happening a lot. In John Young’s Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist his protagonist Connor Lambert has cancer. It is never going to go away, he is just managing it.

This isn’t the only thing that Connor has going on with his life. His father is in prison and no one will tell him why. His mum works all the hours of the day and his younger sister was killed when he was younger. Basically, his f
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this booked, it made me laugh and cry - sometimes at the same time. It was beautifully written with humour and an incredible insight into many of today's issues. Books about dying teenagers are not normally my go-to read, but this book had just the right amount of humour to counterbalance the sadness. His style and compassion made me think of John Green's books - but with an added Scottish twist and humour - pure genius! Only problem was I could not put it down - all household ...more
Charlie Allison
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I met John on holiday in Scotland and consequently read his book which one of us daughters persuaded him to give me. This is a fabulous book, and fills what I realise is a bit of a gap in the market for modern relevant Scottish literature. The characters were great, the Scot slang excellent and the twisty ending was unexpected.
I agree that this is not necessarily a YP fiction book but universally appealing.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved the edgy humour and exciting narrative. I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen to Connor and the short chapters make this a really good bedtime choice. It is hard to put down, though, as you journey through Scotland and urge him and Skeates on. There are several moments when despair leaks out of Connor and you can't help but feel as nervous or sad as he does. But, ultimately, this is a book about bravery and bloody-mindedness and it's made me look closely at roundabouts.
Sheila Adamson
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very readable book with a very Scottish sense of black humour. I found myself really rooting for the protagonist and his unlikely road trip partner. There are no sweet, bravely suffering cancer patients here. Some parts of the story (and the back story in particular) didn't quite ring true but the central relationship was believable and compelling.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Omg this book was a major tear jerker for me. Connor and skeates have an unusual friendship but arent all friendships? The fact that connor has terminal cancer but is trying to live his life to the fullest is heartwarming. Overall, i thoroughly enjoyed this!
Siobhan F.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Think John Green with a heavy dose of modern Scottish culture. While American teens may find some of the slang and terminology difficult at first ultimately more adventurous readers will be won over by Connor's attitude towards his life and the need for living (both metaphorically and literally). I would recommend to anyone who enjoys realistic YA fiction and is looking for stories set outside the US.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Interesting and took unexpected turns, however had a lot of 'coincidences' which seemed a little bit unrealistic to me. Although it was a good book, it took me way longer to read it than usual because I found myself wanting to read other books before it.
Caroline Deacon
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Utterly brilliant- knocks John Green’s Fault in Our Stars into a sentimental cocked hat
Lucy Joyce
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I have read in a while. I really liked the fact that it was set in scotland and the characters were all scottish, it just made it more relatable for me. I liked how it dealt with a lot of very heavy topics in a lighthearted, funny way. Also the characters were quite good and very three dimensional. The only problem I had was the plot twist at the end (not the very end, that was good. If you have read the book you will know what I’m talking about, the bit with the k ...more
Joanne Mcauley
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading johns novel was like my first ride on a Big Dipper - thrills, twists, turns and excitement with every chapter. A fantastic climax
Alan Jackson
Lochgelly High School LRC
Such a good book! 5 stars - Hannah Doran, S6

I loved the song list at the end, I loved the idea of going on a journey to find the answers - for yourself, I loved the characters forming their unlikely alliance and the good that shone through in Skeates, the unlikely hero of the novel. I was rooting for Connor to find his plot twist and to continue his adventures! Brilliant read and such a well-written novel dealing with such big themes that, in this day and age, effect us all in some way.
Mrs Tanik
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Apr 28, 2018
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Sep 23, 2017
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John Young is a writer who is originally from Belfast and now lives near Edinburgh. A former lawyer, he helped found The Teapot Trust, a children's art therapy charity, with his wife Laura. He was a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award winner in 2013.