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Styx & Stones

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A heartbreaking mature YA novel from the author of the bestselling contemporary romance, Harley & Rose.

Cancer sucks … and then you die.

Alaska Stone is everything I've ever dreamed of.

For years, I’ve watched her in the halls, wanted her, but she never knew I existed.

Not until she walked into my chemo session.

For me, it was love at first sight.

For her? It might take a little longer.

But hey, it’s not like we’re on a deadline or anything.

Published September 3, 2019

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About the author

Carmen Jenner

44 books3,068 followers
Carmen Jenner is a USA Today and international bestselling author.

A hardcore red lipstick addict and a romantic at heart, Carmen enjoys books—duh!—long walks through Sephora, tattooed boys, and eyeliner so sharp it could kill a man. She lives in small-town, Australia, where she wrangles her two children, a French Bulldog named Busy, her Jungle Jag Python named Bunny, and her very own manchild.

Carmen always gives her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,113 reviews7,131 followers
August 30, 2019
Image and video hosting by TinyPic STYX-AND-STONES MY REVIEW AND OTHERS: can also be found on my blog:
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STYX & STONES Is a full length mature YA/Romance novel by Carmen Jenner. Spoken in Dual POV's. In this we meet Styx Hendricks & Alaska Stone...Both have cancer...

I haven’t read a book by this author in a while so I basically signed up blind, I didn’t even read the synopsis 🙈and I begged her to not make me cry!! For the record, yes, I cried!! This was such a sad, emotional, utterly and completely beautiful soul crushing story. I giggled, I cried, I loved, and even though I’m emotionally exhausted I’m glad I read this one..Very few authors can delve deep enough to bring out my emotions but Carmen did it with these two characters story effortlessly.


Styx has a rare form of cancer, he'd beat it once in life but it came back full force, now his survival rate is diminishing day by day...He has a wicked sense of humour towards the cancer that's eating away at his body, plays the cancer card often, and basically gives cancer the middle finger it deserves!! F#ck Cancer!!

Alaska has just recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Walking into her first chemo session the last person Styx expected to see walk through that door was Stones..It's during her first chemo session that these two form a bond. If I didn't get cancer, I would've never uttered a word to him. Styx has watched Stones from afar, she attends the same highschool, and she's the girl he's crushed on since seventh grade and now has cancer just like him..

❝ Styx Hendricks, the weirdo loner, that kid with cancer. The boy who shoved his way into my life and became such an important fixture, such a permanent part of me, that I can't breathe without him.❞

I know this book won't appeal to everyone because of the subject matter it covers but ones that do jump on this will appreciate how beautifully the author crafted this story. Without divulging spoilers grab a box of tissues, some chocolate and let those tears flow!! Your welcome lol

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Profile Image for Mali Mor ❤️ The Romantic Blogger.
415 reviews497 followers
September 3, 2019
Just so you'll know, I'm still crying from the moment I finished reading...
Who am I kidding? I started crying the moment I finished the prologue! 😭

📚 "Cancer sucks.
And then you die.
At least how supposed to go.
Only sometimes, fate likes to screw with you." 📚

17-year-old Styx Hendricks has a rare type of cancer. He has already managed to overcome it once, but the cancer has returned and his chances of recovery are low...
Styx copes by using cynicism (which made a difficult subject, very funny!).
One day, while he was in another chemotherapy session, Styx can't believe his eyes when a new patient enters the door... 😱

📚 "The girl I've loved since the fifth grade just walked into my chemo session, and I feel as if my whole world just fucking imploded." 📚

Alaska Stone (or as Styx calls her, Stones) has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Although they only talked for the first time during chemo, Styx had been in love with Stones for years, watching her from afar. 😍
For her, he was always the sick and lonely boy... but now, he's the only one who understands exactly what's she is going through. 💔

At first, they don't get along because Alaska can't understand his jokes about the disease while she's just trying to survive... But Styx doesn't give up until they become close, and they run away together for a once in a lifetime adventure - of dream fulfillment, self-discovery and huge love.
How will it end...? read and find that out for yourself. 😉

📚 "Styx Hendricks, the weirdo loner, that kid with cancer. The boy who shoved his way into my life and became such an important fixture, such a permanent part of me, that I can't breathe without him." 📚

Man, this book killed me! It made me laugh, angry, blush and giggle, cry and fall in love... 😍
Styx captivated my heart with his sensitivity and strength... Stones captivated me with her desire to live ... All I wanted was to get between the pages and give them a hug! 💋
I found myself sitting in my office, reading and crying... I think everyone here thinks I'm getting divorced from all the crying (well, at least they didn't bother me reading...) 😂

📚 "Our diagnoses brought us together, but it may be the very thing that tears us apart." 📚

The characters are young and so, as an adult (and a party pooper 💩), they kind of angered me with their irresponsibility and disrespect for their parents. On the other hand, they are sick teens... So even if they stood on their heads for a whole chapter without uttering a word... it's their fucking right to behave the way they want!!!!!! 😂

I won't give any spoilers, but I know this book will not suit everyone because of it's difficult subject... But if you want to read a special and moving story about a brave friendship, true unconditional love and... lots of optimism - then this is THE book for you. 👑❤

*** I received an ARC from the author for an objective review ***
Profile Image for Na.
726 reviews108 followers
September 2, 2019
"We're different, and it's okay not to be okay. It doesn't change us."

Carmen Jenner is an author that was on my tbr list for way too long and I'm happy that Styx & Stones was my first book by her. It's such a moving book with such a heavy topic, yet, I enjoyed every word I read.

"I don't know how to focus on anything but him, but I'm scared. Scared of loving him, scared of losing him. I'm scared to live."

I'd like to say that the love between Styx & Stones was doomed from the beginning. But thinking a little more about that, I came to the conclusion, that this is not true. The love between Styx & Stones was fate and they were so lucky to live through the experience of true love. Even though their love was cut short. But at least the were able to live it.

"Our diagnoses brought us together, but it may be the very thing that tears us apart."

Styx and Stones are so different but beautiful characters. Their personalities shone through each page. Each of them so strong in their own way: funny, thoughtful, clever, witty, caring, talented. I love how their relationship developed through the story. How they were holding each other up, giving the other the strength he needed to go on. Their story is truly special and deserves to be heard.

""We're gonna be late," Stones whispers. "Late for what?" She grins and presses her lips to mine. "Forever.""

Styx & Stones is moving, touching, emotional and inspirational. It teaches us not to take anything for granted and to enjoy everyday the best we can.
Profile Image for Andrea Fleury.
923 reviews70 followers
September 27, 2019
Styx and stones and Cancer

Styx has been in love with Alaska stone since 5 th grade. But she doesn't know it yet. Styx has cancer. Alaska just found out she does too. They meet at chemo. Does he tell her he has always loved her?
Profile Image for Lisa (Two Bookish Brits).
748 reviews154 followers
September 1, 2019
I’m an actual mess.

ARC received in exchange for an honest review

How does one describe a book that completely floored me and left me speechless. A book that has left me so emotional I’m weak from crying. It’s like a huge truck has taken to driving over my heart, reversing back and rolling over it again. It aches, I’m emotional and extremely sad. I knew, I just knew that I’d feel like this and I’m absolutely loving that it did. A book that can make me feel like this is a book well written. I loved every aching moment of it.

Styx and Stones have been dealt the bad hand in life. Cancer sucks, so damn bad but they don’t let it stop them from living. Following these two in their journey is absolute fun. I love their banter and the fact they can laugh when things don’t look good. They’re amazing friends and I absolutely love that so much.

This book may not be for everyone but it was one for me. Having multiple people in my family go through this disease (except they were a lot older) I have to give Carmen the praise she deserves. This beauty is so well written and shows just how heartbreaking this disease can be and how it affects one that it’s taken over. She truly did an amazing job on putting this into book form.

Knowing it comes from Harley & Rose I knew, I just knew it was going to be a sad one but me loving an ugly cry just had to get my eyes stuck into it and an ugly cry sure as hell happened.

Carmen Jenner truly is an incredible writer, I’ve only read one other book from this author but I loved it too, I’m definitely going to be reading more from this author in the future.

Styx and Stones is a heartbreaking YA romance that will make you shed tears by the bucket loads but also smile like a Cheshire Cat. It’s one of the greatest sad books I’ve ever had the pleasure of crying over.

Profile Image for Jan .
2,153 reviews45 followers
September 4, 2019
You know that saying "may as well make the most of it"? "make good out of a bad situation" well, you could say these characters did that, Styx Hendricks was an amazing and inspirational character and dragged Alaska Stone right along with him on their journey into forever, their positivity was infectious.

Two people each with terminal illnesses, two people who find love and comfort in each other in their last days.

"Our diagnoses brought us together, but it may be the very thing that tears us apart."

​To say I was an absolute snotty, tearful, blubbering mess when I finished this book would be an understatement. This book is going to take some getting over.
What a heartbreaking and heartwarming story. How bittersweet. Carmen Jenner, you broke me with your wonderful, inspiring words and these beautiful characters.

I laughed, I cried, I finished in awe.

Cancer sucks.

"We're gonna be late," Stones whispers. "Late for what?" She grins and presses her lips to mine. "Forever."

STYX & STONES Is a full length mature YA/Romance novel by Carmen Jenner. Spoken in Dual POV's.

Profile Image for Whoo Gives A Hoot.
1,055 reviews85 followers
September 28, 2019
* Read more of my reviews at Whoo Gives A Hoot *


Styx & Stones is a devastatingly heartbreaking and emotionally captivating love story that will leave you a blubbering mess as you attempt to pick of the pieces of your broken soul after you have inhaled all the words. Carmen Jenner's unique storytelling ability managed to completely obliterate every part of me and has left me crying my eyes out even hours after finishing.

Styx Hendricks and Alaska Stone instantly took ahold of my heart and pulled on all of my heartstrings. This story will leave you feeling raw and exposed from their emotional journey and you will certainly find yourself struggling to catch you breath throughout every unexpected twist and turn. You might think you know what their story is going to be about, but you have no freaking clue. You will without a doubt experience ALL THE FEELS! Not every story has a happy ending, but that's life and I think Styx and Stones were both destined to find each other this way, even if their love could end in tragedy...

If you are searching for a story that will allow you a good cry, then this is the one for you! Carmen Jenner reveals the true side of cancer and leaves you craving every bittersweet moment throughout this epic love story!
Profile Image for Shabby  -BookBistroBlog.
1,402 reviews736 followers
August 30, 2019
How do I describe the book which just tore open my chest and scooped out my heart with a blunt spoon!! Carmen is in all her sadistic glory hacking away at readers emotions with a rusty knife, squeezing tears out of driest of eyes.


I KNEW Carmen would make me ugly-cry when I picked this book. She made me fall in love with these beautiful 17 year olds whose lives are entwined together rushing towards the white light.
They have numbered breaths and limited days in their tragic existence. But Styx Hendricks is a Loner Boy with joie de vivre, even when he's running out of time, he wants to make every second count.. His energy to live is depleting fast but his will to savor those seconds is commendable.
"Our diagnoses brought us together, but it may be the very thing that tears us apart. I don’t know who I’m more afraid for—Styx or me. I don’t know which is worse—dying too young, or being the one left behind."


Styx is adorably cute and flirty, his funny veneer hiding his aching scared heart ticking like a bomb
He meets Alaska Stone in the Chemo group and soon they bond over shared disease
“Is that what we are? Cancer friends?”
“It’s an exclusive club. Invite only.”
He shrugs. “And it requires all members exchange phone numbers.”


There's some really heartbreaking scenes, some tearful poignant moments and a whole lot of wicked sense of humor, just served as a distraction to endure the physical and emotional pain readers have to go through watching this young couple go through what NOBODY should have the misfortune of enduring.
“You make me a distraction. If you’re focused on me, you don’t have to think about the disease that’s trying to kill you.”
“You don’t distract me from my cancer. If anything, you make me more aware there’s a chance I might die without ever getting to touch you the way I want.”

It'll make you laugh a lot and before you know it the tears of laughter shall morph into sobs of helplessness. The anger over unfairness of life and cruelty of God just had me screaming with pain


I wish we had the power to make time wait for us. I’d make it wait forever, right here. I’d use up all of the seconds it’s stolen from me, from us, and the lifetime it’s going to steal from our future. If I had the ability, I’d hit pause right here, and I’d never let him go.
These are the kind of book you wanna jump in like superman and save the characters!!
I need wine 😭😭😭
5 bawling stars & F*ck Cancer!!
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Profile Image for Meegz Reads.
1,331 reviews103 followers
September 3, 2019
*5 Stars*

ARC kindly received in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly do not know where to start with this. How do you even review a book like Styx and Stones? It's been a while since I've read a YA story like this, but I knew that anything Carmen wrote, I would love, so I was going to read it anyways.

Now, I knew going in that the book would be emotional, given that cancer is the subject matter. But, I did not expect to be getting goosebumps in the damned prologue. What a way to intro a book!

Styx and Stones are really awesome characters that I couldn't help but fall in love with, and I really really wanted for them to be able to live full and happy lives. But, cancer and all that right? So, I couldn't bring myself to hope anything for the ending, because with a subject matter like that, I knew I was going to be in for a ride of some kind, and with cancer you can't look too far ahead, for fear of what's to come.

Now, I don't want to ruin this for anyone, so I'll just say that you need to go and read this book. I read it really quickly, and I was surprised by how much I was enjoying the book in terms of happy and funny moments. But then, 85% hit, and I cried my way through the rest of the book. Literally, blubbering, soaked and snotty sweatshirt sleeve crying. Thanks a lot Carmen! haha.

I think that Carmen has tackled this subject in a great way, and has been very sensitive about how she's written the book. She's done justice to it, because the whole time, you're thinking about what its like for kids like Styx and Stones, to be in the situation that they're in. And I think it's worse when its kids, because they haven't had the chance to really even live a little yet. Cancer is horrible as we all know, and we all wish for a world without it. Thank you Carmen for writing this book, and for writing it the way you did. Definitely recommend.

Review also on my blog - Styx & Stones by Carmen Jenner

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Profile Image for Jo - •.★Reading Is My Bliss★.•.
2,373 reviews204 followers
September 9, 2019
It’s been a while since I read Young Adult fiction and I’m so glad that this was the story that led me back into that genre.

Alaska Stone is the girl that Styx has been crushing on for years at school. She has never really noticed him or paid him any attention. He knows that she is way out of his league. Things change when he is at his regular chemo session and she walks through the doors.

"The girl I've loved since the fifth grade just walked into my chemo session, and I feel as if my whole world just fucking imploded."

A friendship grows between them as Alaska’s friends become estranged over not knowing how to deal with her illness. Only Styx knows what she is going through. He deals with his own prognosis with his special blend of black comedy and he helps Alaska deal with the all the unknowns of her own diagnosis.

More importantly, he teaches her how to live. He brings fun and laughter back into her life and it is something that she really needs right now. On the one hand Styx is excited that he is spending time with his dream girl but it’s bittersweet knowing why they have finally connected.

"Our diagnoses brought us together, but it may be the very thing that tears us apart."

Styx knows that his time on earth is limited and wants to spend it his way, with Alaska. He sets out to make some of her most wanted dreams come true. If nothing else, he wants to leave this earth knowing that he lived.

Wow, this was a gut punching story filled with so much emotion. I freaking loved the epilogue so much!

"We're gonna be late," Stones whispers. "Late for what?" She grins and presses her lips to mine. "Forever."
Profile Image for TheSassyNerdBlog.
704 reviews324 followers
September 8, 2019
I am at a loss for words. My heart. My poor fucking heart. I knew this book was going to be an ugly-cry but fuck me... I am speechless.

Carmen Jenner has talent, that is no secret... and this book just shows you a prime example of that talent. It was flawless, it was gut-wrenching, it was heart shatteringly good. I went into this book blind in a sense. I knew what it was about because of the blurb but nothing prepared me for the flood of emotions that came my way. I was a mess throughout the book, having to put it down every so often and take a breather...

It's about two people that find each other at the most horrid time in their lives, yet it was the most perfect time.. Both battling cancer at a young age. It was Stones first time with cancer but Styx second... So naturally he helped her through to what is to come.. and over time they created a bond that no one could break. These two weren't just battling cancer, they battle it alongside the normal angsty hell that teens go through,... It was beautiful. They leaned on each other, they helped right the demon taking over their bodies. It truly was beautiful.

I don't want to dive too deep into this. It one of those books you need to experience yourself. but I will say... It is a hell of an emotional ride. Be prepared to be gut-punched over and over, make sure you have tissues close. This book isn't about an easy subject, but the author wrote it so well... and as much as it ripped me to shreds over and over, the story was incredible...


Profile Image for Grace.
1,938 reviews89 followers
August 31, 2019
4.25 Stars

It sucks.
We all know this.
So, it is best to know going into this book what you are getting - two young teens fighting for their lives.

Styx Hendricks and Alaska Stone have very different views on handling their diagnosis. Styx is a bit flippant about it, cracking jokes about death, while Arizona is just trying to get thru treatment as her world has been upended. So, they don't connect initially. Not for Styx's lack of trying.

The girl I've loved since the fifth grade just walked into my chemo session, and I feel as if my whole world just fucking imploded.

Eventually Styx persistence pays off. And while I second guessed his approach, he is exactly what Alaska, or Stones (as he calls her), in her life. He gives her a different outlook on her situation, beyond treatment and therapy. He gives her a world to escape to, where smiles aren't long forgotten. And he gives her the chance to fall in love.

With death looming, the two decide to make the best of a bad situation, and take a journey, just for them. While I thoroughly enjoyed this story, this part of the story upset me in a way you wouldn't expect. During the two's adventures, they made a lot of BAD decisions with serious repercussions. You'd think they'd be a little more responsible with their own bodies. I won't get into the consequences, but you can figure it out. On top of that, as a parent, I thought they were a little selfish. I get their reasoning for what they did, but would it be too much to send a text to their loving parents?

Although the above situation did bother me, I thought the overall story was well written, and end will give readers a break from their broken hearts. If you are up for an ugly cry story, that deals with love and loss, check this one out.

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

For more reviews, visit

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Profile Image for ✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰.
2,687 reviews12 followers
August 29, 2019
ARC received from author for an honest review

Now, I am an old fart, so I don't really read much YA anymore, however this is a Carmen Jenner story, so it is a no brainer that I am going to read it.

The subject matter is not the easiest to read - F&ck Cancer and all that. However I was completely drawn into Styx and Alaska's story, and I ended up reading this book in one night.

Now, I know that the subject matter of this story is not going to be for everyone. I tackles heartbreaking subjects, and you can't help but cry for our lovelies as their stories unfold.

Now, I knew before I went in that this was going to be an emotional book, and I held it together for about 80% of the book, but then I was a blubbering mess, reading the story through copious amounts of tears.

Ms Jenner, I will be emailing you a bill for the shares in Kleenex I must have bought as I read.

I don't want to give anything away, as this is story you need to dive in blind and experience with the characters.

Just know that you need to read it.

I can't wait to see what Ms Jenner brings us next.

Smokin Hot Book Blog Email
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,817 reviews407 followers
September 9, 2019
So I was unsure how a YA book by Carmen Jenner would be, since I have known and loved her adult romance books. But I had no need to worry, because this one grabbed me from the start. I'd like to compare it to The Fault in Our Stars, but since the characters themselves name that book and one of them kind of calls it out, I feel like I shouldn't. LOL! Okay, yeah, maybe I shouldn't have an LOL in a review of a book about kids with cancer, but as I loved in the author's other books, her sense of humor is a huge part of the story, and to me, that is real life. This book was so intense, but so good, and such a page-turner. I picked it up knowing I had one day to get it read, and believe me, the only thing that almost kept me from doing that was all the things I had going on during a Sunday. Notice I said almost. If it wasn't for my usual Sunday activities, I'd have had this completely read before I ever left the house.

This is not going to be your usual happy ending, even a happy ending for a teens with cancer story. I'm trying really hard not to spoil anything, so you may want to stop before going any further, because my thoughts may possibly spoil stuff for you. So, the ending, well the ending made me think a lot about the very end of the Titanic movie. If you remember that scene, you'll know what I mean when you read this one. I like that our characters did what any normal teen would do in this type of situation, or what you'd hope they'd do. I like that the author made things happen realistically. Things weren't miraculously okay after the big scare. There were repercussions for doing the irresponsible things. Life-threatening repercussions. The big "cure" or solution wasn't the perfect solution in the end. But then, they were still just teens. They were real. And the author was able to throw in her usual sexiness that I know and enjoy in her books, but she was able to make it teenage realistic. Not just that, but it was today's teen realistic. It made sense for what teens today might do or know or use to become knowledgeable.

Overall a great book, just solidified for me that I'll read anything by this author and probably love it. Also found out this is a bit of a spin-off from another book by the author that I'll have to go back and read.

Review first appeared on Lisa Loves Literature.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,819 reviews141 followers
September 9, 2019
I knew headed into Carmen Jenner’s newest release that my emotions were going to be put through the ringer, but what I also knew was that I would be a better person for reading it and that I would meet two dynamic and amazing young adults who would teach me lessons that only people like Styx Hendricks and Alaska Stone could teach and that even though there truly only seemed to be one outcome for these two, their journey of friendship and love is not to be missed, regardless of the many tears that were shed.

Throughout the course of the story, Jenner illustrates cancer in all of its fucked up grandeur, holding nothing back when it comes to this debilitating disease or the struggles that Alaska must endure due to her diagnosis. Like her characters, Carmen Jenner shows so much strength and courage in her story telling. This story is not an easy read; it’s not for every reader due to the subject matter and the fact that we can be assured that at some point either one or both of the main characters will have to face their death and deal with it at a young age, making readers question the sense of it all, but there’s also a lesson in that…one that illustrates the fact that happily ever afters don’t look the same for everyone, especially when there are extenuating circumstances - ones that have more control over them than the characters would like.

I adored Styx gallows humor and his cynical view of most things, but when it came to Alaska, he’s all about doing whatever he can to get her to truly see him and give him a chance to be with her regardless of how short their time together could possibly be. I loved that there’s a bit of a backstory of to their relationship, even if it was a one-sided crush. The idea that Styx went for it and Stones opened herself up to him made for many steamy and swoon worthy moments.

As heavy as the subject matter is in Styx & Stones, Jenner lightens things up in different parts of the story, and she does this so that even though her readers may be overwhelmed with what the two main characters have to go through, there is light moments amidst the dark ones and that’s what you need to hold on to as the heartbreaking and trying moments begin to take over.

Styx and Alaska’s story is most definitely a love story, but it’s so much more than that…it’s about fighting even when you don’t feel like it any longer…it’s about living each moment the way it should be lived, fully and present, making all of them count, not holding anything back because you never one which one may be the last.

I applaud Carmen Jenner for telling Styx and Alaska’s story…for using their voices to show all the highs and lows involved in love and loss…in living and dying, and offering hope in the most hopeless of situations.

4.5 Poison Apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)
Profile Image for Amazeballs Book Addicts.
2,770 reviews239 followers
September 1, 2019
I hadn't read anything but Carmen Jenner before this one so I didn't know what to except. I loved loved this one. It's definitely going to be one of my top favorite read for this year. It has a unique story line. I loved Styx Hendricks and Alaska Stone. They are amazing characters. They are both battling cancer as teens. Styx and Alaska know each other from school but before running into each other at chemo that hadn't talked before. It's tough for them. Styx has a great personality and deals with his diagnoses different. This story had my smiling and laughing at parts and at others it had me trying not to cry. It's an emotional but beautiful story. This one is a drop everything and read now book.
Profile Image for Sakshi *the bookish romantic*.
38 reviews37 followers
September 29, 2019
We all have read it before: Two characters, either one or both suffering from a terminal illness, fall in love and actually serve a dual purpose: learn to live a short life to the fullest and preserve that essence of life after death.

Romance novels with terminal sickness automatically creates an aura of dismay and morbidity overwhelmed by a life-threatening prognosis. Love, when it comes, eases pains of sickness and helps seeing the world and life altogether in a brighter light. While reading such stories, we relate to the characters, live their life with them and essentially become a part of their story.

This tragic young romance brings together a tale of sickness, fear, love, and loss. Styx Hendricks, suffering from alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer, in short), has had seen it all before—the suffering, medical intervention, and the horrific after effects. He survived it then but is in remission again with a four-year survival prognosis. He meets Alaska Stones during a chemo session. She is the girl he has pined for over seven years and like him, she also has cancer, brain tumor to be exact. She is angry at life, her friends, her parents and everything and understandably so.


That’s what I’ve been reduced to.


That’s what I have become.

A cancer on my family, on their emotions, on their time, and on their bank account.

Cancer sucks.”

They both form a deep connection with each other while struggling though their own suffering. Over the course of the book, Alaska opens her heart to Styx. He is a sanctuary for her in that abyss of sickness, chemo and treatment that’s making it even worse. They both inspire and motivate each other in the mist of all the chaos.

The physical and mental pain, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, nausea, vomiting and whole lot of despair and suffering was in the charts if they went through the treatment. They opted to fight and find the little island of peace within themselves.

Getting cancer was their fate, staying with cancer was their helplessness, and dying from cancer was their choice. While they couldn’t beat cancer, they also didn’t let cancer beat them. It wasn’t an easy one but it was theirs as it was ultimately their choice if they wanted to live with the remnants of life after all the picking and prodding or die with dignity.

“Our diagnoses brought us together, but it may be the very thing that tears us apart. I don’t know who I’m more afraid for—Styx or me.
I don’t know which is worse—dying too young, or being the one left behind.”

I wouldn’t have judged them if I wasn’t reviewing this book. Since I am dissecting it, I’ll go ahead and do just that.

My issue is with the utterly blasé and careless characters.

Humor, when done right, can alter the face of dismal reality and bring in some bright rays of hope. The lead characters in this story tried too hard to make the tragedy seem less tragic. Their jokes weren’t funny in the beginning and even less so by the end. They were immature at the least and annoying at best. These characters seemed frivolous and could not represent the pains and hardships of an actual patient with their constant risks and outrageous adventures in an unbelievable attempt to showcase life. Alaska’s Instagram logs further watered down the whole central theme of the book. The attempt to make the story light-hearted while keeping with the tragic theme failed for me here.

Another thing is the connection with the characters or lack thereof. A terminal romance has to have that deep enormous effect on you based on its theme alone. That of course is done through its characters. Here, neither could I feel that bond with the characters nor the characters had that kind of connection with each other. The author did invest time and space for character development but both Styx and Stones got supremely annoying so many times in the story that everything else took a backseat. There were times where we did get some real insights from two people fighting death. But those weren’t too many.

“This disease is terrifying for parents too. Sometimes they don’t get that we’re forced to become adults, and we have to make some very adult decisions about our bodies, and our futures. Sometimes we’re more ready for those decisions than they are.”

Romanticizing an illness can be heart-touching, making you weep through the night and wetting every other page of the book. But is it realistic? Does it not affect readers suffering from the actual disease? Does the decisions that these teenagers made (that seem to be reckless, at least to me) doesn’t affect the parents, siblings and loved ones they leave behind?

I struggled with the same questions when I read Me Before You, but the author somehow justified the life-ending decision that the lead character made there. Maybe it was the seriousness with which the topic was contemplated upon there. Maybe it was the fact that we lived with the despair with which he lived his daily life. Maybe it was his sheer inability to do even the menial routine chores without assistance. It all boils down to maybes that felt justified there but not here.

I would rate this book a 3-star simply for its ability to make me think so much about it even days after I read it.
Profile Image for Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog).
4,913 reviews153 followers
September 5, 2019

"We thought we had forever. We were wrong. Sounds like some fucked up Romeo and Juliet shit, right? Only it wasn't the Capulets and the Montagues trying to keep us apart. It was life. It was cancer."
Styx is a snarky, sarcastic teenage boy. Sounds typical, right? Well, in a lot of ways, he is typical. But in one significant way, he's not typical. Because of the rare form of cancer that is slowly killing him. He uses that sarcastic wit to keep people at a distance, to keep himself sane while he goes through chemo, while he deals with the fact that his lifespan is nowhere near what it should be. And then the girl he's been in love with for 7 years (they go to the same school) walks into his chemo session and he sees he just might have a good reason to live up his last few...years. Months. Whatever is left for him in this lifetime.
"The girl I've watched from afar for seven years has cancer. The girl I've loved since the fifth grade just walked into my chemo session, and I feel as if my whole world just fucking imploded."
Alaska Stone (Stones to Styx) has a brain tumor. To say she's not dealing well is an understatement. And then she walks into her chemo session and the loner boy from her high school is there. She wants to ask him questions, commiserate with him. But that would be rude, right? To only talk to him because he has cancer. She doesn't know he's loved her from afar. But she soon learns that love can come at any time, and that it's not just something earth bound, because it can, and will, follow one into the next life. How long is this life that Styx & Stones have together? No matter. They've got forever to love each other, whether it's in this life or the next.

Let me tell you, you're going to need more than a few tissues handy for this read. I won't spoil, although you can probably freakin guess, I'll just say it's a tearjerker. But it's also entertaining in a snarky, witty way that only teenagers can be, and Carmen Jenner deals with her heavy subject with a deft hand. Kudos to her for this story that's full of heart. Just be forewarned that, like I said earlier, you're gonna need a bunch of tissues while reading!
"We're gonna be late," Stones whispers. "Late for what?" She grins and presses her lips to mine. "Forever."

ARC via Social Butterfly PR for an honest review.

Full review ---> Live Through Books Blog.

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Profile Image for Courtney.
1,529 reviews180 followers
September 3, 2019
WOW!!!  I knew going into this book my heart would be wrecked.  But you can't ever prepare yourself for the magnitude of it when Carmen Jenner writes the story.

Styx & Stones will not be a read for everyone.  And Carmen lets readers know that before you start the story, So heed her warning.  And if you are brave enough, grab some tissues and a bottle of wine and prepare for an onslaught of emotions.

This book is written from both Styx and Stones POV and is just really drives home the nature of this book.  They are two opposites and attend the same high school but never talked to each other. 

Styx has stage 3 cancer.  He beat it once but as with most childhood cancers, there's always a probability of cancer returning.  He has this great sense of humor towards cancer that'll make you laugh. 

Stones has stage 2 cancer.  Her migraines led to her diagnosis but it's what she finds in chemo treatment that shocks her the most.  Styx.  He's the last person she ever expected to see, let alone get close to.

The journey Carmen takes us on is one riddled with emotion.  It's raw, real and brutally honest.  But what you also feel is a true friendship turn to romance bloom in the face of it all.

There has only been one other book that brought me to tears that were streaming down my face.  This is book number two to do that.  

While I had tears streaming down my face, I had a huge smile too.  This book was so much.  It was beautifully written and it'll be a book I remember for a very long time.
Profile Image for 2OCC Reviews.
3,428 reviews238 followers
September 3, 2019
There are not enough words to convey to readers how amazing this story was from start to finish. I thought reading this author's previous novel Harley and Rose I would be prepared for the ugly cry storyline of this book. But boy was I wrong because it did not stop me from ugly crying throughout the story and my heart constantly breaking. This was a completely beautiful, gut wrewchning, emotional and amazing stroy written by this amazing author. Carmen Jenner knows how to delve into your emotions with the way they tell a story and this story definitely makes you feel a range of emotions. The characters in the story were completely amazing and really took you for a journey.

Alaska Stone was a strong and brave character that faced a really scary time in the story. The way that she struggled with her diagnoses really broke my heart and the way that her friends treated her really made me angry. But the relationship that started between Alaska and Styx was truly beautiful.

Styx was a quirky character that stole my heart in this story. The way that he set out to make every moment of his life count really made me cry. He was an amazing character with the way that not only was he trying to deal with his own illness he was also helping Alaska at the same time.

I honestly did not know what to expect from this story and I was not expecting this beautiful story of these two characters. The author really did an incredible job with the way they navigated this storyline and the sensitive subject matter. This is a story that I definitely recommend
Profile Image for Sofia Lazaridou.
2,734 reviews136 followers
September 6, 2019
Styx & Stones is a stand-alone novel by Carmen Jenne. Styx appeared in Harley & Rose and Haley appears in this book, but it was so brief that it doesn't really matter. He was just a passing character.

I cannot be mad with the ending we got. We were promised nothing more. And it can be considered a happy ending, but not in the traditional sense. I don't want to go into more details, so I will leave it to that. I will reveal that the heroine's name is Alaska Stone and Styx calls her Stones because Styx and Stones sounds better than Styx and Alaska.

The fault in our stars is mentioned a lot in this book and I think that we got many similarities between these two books, to a point where it started to get weird. I don't want to accuse the author of anything, so don't take it that way. I just think that the story inspired her to write this book. At least she gave us a better ending.

The pace was good and I also liked the writing. I was sucked into the story and I kept reading, hoping for something more, something that was going to prove Styx wrong and it would give me a moment to breathe without the black cloud of the epilogue hanging over me. Reading a book about two teenagers having cancer is not fun.

Styx & Stones is the kind of book you will either love or hate. There is no inbetween.
Profile Image for Natasha.
473 reviews26 followers
August 29, 2019
Where do I even begin with this book?!
Styx Hendricks has had a crush on Alaska Stone for years, from afar. But Alaska never noticed him, not until she walked into his chemo session.
This book is about two teenagers who are just trying to live while dying. They want to be just normal teens, just for a little while- before their cancer claims them. I fell in love with Styx from the very first page. This book was heartbreakingly beautiful. It punched me right in the feels, and made me cry. But it made me laugh too. Styx and Stones were made for one another. I still have no words to describe this book. It was tragic, and sad, but still an amazing read.
"Stones was unlike any teen I'd ever met. We thought we had forever. We were wrong. Sounds like some fucked up Romeo and Juliet shit, right? Only it wasn't the Capulets and Montagues trying to keep us apart. It was life. It was cancer. But don't feel bad, because despite making my grand exit at the tender age of eighteen, I lived. If nothing else, I lived."
5 heartbroken ⭐ out of 5 ⭐
September 2, 2019
Wow......Just wow... This book....phhewww.. *tears forming...again!!!*
This book is a beautiful, heart-aching, masterpiece. This mature YA novel is not your typical romance and I think that's one of the things that makes it stand out even more. My heart is breaking!!! I bawled my eyes out while reading, so definitely keep those tissues handy.

Styx and Stones are soul mates, through and through. I loved watching them grow as characters together. I loved how fiercely they felt for each other, what they were willing to do for one another. Watching them fight their battles while being there for each other was heart warming. I just love them.

I cried... I cried SO MUCH. I am talking severe ugly crying, but do you know what... I loved it. I loved that I was so connected to the story that I felt it, that it made me react this way. I am sitting here writing this with tears in my eyes days after reading this book because I am still with them in their story. And that ending.. wow.. Beautiful, heart-aching, masterpiece.
Profile Image for Monique.
996 reviews50 followers
September 9, 2019
I have been intrigued by Styx when we first met him in Harley & Rose with his cocky teen attitude, so I was eager to read his full story. I just knew that for all the things Styx had experienced, he would be very passionate about Stones and it would pack a huge punch to read their tale.

This was an epic novel depicting all the angst of a teen romance with the added dilemma of them both having cancer. It’s Styx’s second time having chemo and Stones's first, so he takes her under his wing to explain the ins and outs of living with cancer. Hand in hand they feel they can take on the world and they set about on a journey to discover and make a few other firsts together.

This book is full of emotions and you can’t help but be moved by the writing. Yes I was sad but I also felt I witnessed something extremely special with this couple. I know they will be with me for some time while I smooth in the epilogue. This is definitely a book not to be missed.
Profile Image for Michelle Claypot_Reads.
2,168 reviews56 followers
September 5, 2019
What is it with me and crying books lately! This one had me crying so hard I woke my husband and might have sent the author rambling tear filled messages.

Styx and Alaska - two YA characters that grabbed hold of my heart and squeezed it until the very end. This one is raw and funny and heartbreakingly sad. Just like in life not every love story gets a happy ending but holy hell is the journey worth it.

Definitely recommend if you need a good cry.

I received an arc of this book.
March 30, 2021
I'm balling my eyes out while writing this! I don't think I can put my thoughts into words right now! All I can say is that Styx & Stones have torn my heart apart 😭😭😭
Profile Image for Jennifer Juers.
395 reviews
April 19, 2020
Just what I was looking to read! I have moments where I want to read sad books. Maybe it's the "life isn't so bad" type of feeling, but whatever it is it worked!!
Profile Image for Rachel (The Rest Is Still Unwritten).
1,601 reviews203 followers
September 21, 2019
Thank you to Give Me Books Promotions and author Carmen Jenner for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!

Find this review and more on my blog The Rest Is Still Unwritten!

Styx & Stones is a heartfelt and poignant YA read from bestselling author Carmen Jenner that will bewitch readers with its moving and emotional storyline and tangible, genuine characters.

Seventeen year old Styx Hendricks thinks cancer sucks and why shouldn’t he? He beat it once and now its come back worse then ever. Chemo makes him weak and sick and Styx is so over putting poison in his body. There’s nothing in life to be positive about….until Alaska Stone walks into his chemo session. Alaska has always been Styx’s dream girl and it seems like a cruel twist of fate that she’s finally noticing him when things seem so grim but Styx is determined to prove to Alaska that there are things more important than dying, and living—and loving—is the most important of them all.

I knew heading into this novel that Carmen Jenner was going to break my heart. How could she not? Anyone who has read Harley & Rose knew how Styx’s story was going to end. There wouldn’t be a “happy ending” for this lovable dork, but Jenner surprised me by the amount of wonder, sweetness and joy she packed into this novel—Styx & Stones is a story about true love, exploration and living in the moments you have, especially when your future isn’t guaranteed. And I think it was absolutely beautiful.

Styx & Stones unfolds through the dual perspectives of main characters Styx Hendricks and Alaska Stone, switching back and forth between them throughout the novel. Both Styx and Alaska have sharp, distinct voices and Carmen Jenner explores a tough topic—kids with cancer—in a very respectful, genuine but entertaining way. This story is actually really fun. Until the final few chapters, it’s often easy to forget how dire our protagonists situations are as they spend time together.

Styx and Alaska are adorable and awkward and just honestly normal teenagers facing the biggest fights of their lives. They’re also falling in love; in the middle of all the pain and uncertainty and fear they’re facing, they slowly find unexpected friendship and love with each other. It’s really sweet seeing them stumble through their feelings and I feel like Jenner did this so perfectly. There’s an innocence to their romance as they experience physicality with each other and tenderness as they fall in love. It’s heartbreaking knowing their time together will be short, but uplifting too as at least they have experienced love during what little time they have.

I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers, but there were aspects of this novel I really wasn’t expecting; both good and bad. I was expecting to have Styx break my heart, but Alaska was unexpected and given how much I came to love these two quirky teens, seeing their pain was heartbreaking and emotional and gut wrenching….BUT the very ending of Styx & Stones is also very hopeful so I will forgive Carmen Jenner for the emotional roller-coaster she took me on.

Beautifully written, thoughtful and moving, Styx & Stones is a powerfully told novel that allows readers to experience a whole spectrum of emotion as Carmen Jenner proves that she can write anything---adult, NA and now YA-- and knows how to get the most out of her readers with Styx & Stones that in my opinion deserves to right up there with The Fault in Our Stars and A Walk To remember as one of those timely, spectacular stories.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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