Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: 17th January 2012
Pages: 204
Book Source: HMH Children's Books & NetGalley

Synopsis: I had the dream again. The one where I’m running. I don’t know what from or where to, but I’m scared, terrified really. 

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. But in the short time he has left there’s one thing he can do: He can try to help the people he loves live—even though he never will. 

It’s probably hopeless. 

But he has to try.

My Thoughts:
Austin's dying of cancer and he's decided he'd rather 'live' the last weeks of his life than spend it having pointless treatment. By 'living' he wants to do some of the things he's always wanted to do, conquer fears, face demons and make a difference in other peoples lives. While it isn't immediately revealed that Austin is terminal, the title and synopsis give that away so no qualms here about getting spoilerish.

“There are some things I want to do, some crazy things, some wild things, some fun things, things I’ve never done, thing’s I’ve never seen.” 

Never Eighteen is a touching story but at the risk of sounding heartless, I was disappointed. Austin's voice rang true, as did Kaylee's, Austin's best friend and secret love and I enjoyed the time Austin & Kaylee spent together ticking things off his bucket list. I loved the simplistic, natural writing, the music references; music holds such meaning for me in so many aspects of my life and it resonates when I find the same thing in a story, the photos (Austin's beloved Cybershot) and the poetry .

What I had trouble swallowing was each person Austin wanted to help filled a clichéd check list - friend abusing drugs, friend being abused, alcoholic friend, undisclosed gay friend, estranged parents, sad mother of dead friend.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not making light of 'real' life issues, we all have family and friends dealing with problems, spiralling out of control, maybe it's not so much the "issues" themselves but people's problems being afforded the time they deserve in 200 pages. As Austin visited each person in turn, I found myself being pulled out of the emotion of the story and into a ... you've-got-to-be-kidding-me moment. 

That aside, Never Eighteen is poignant and sweet and it did make me wonder. I could die tomorrow or next week, do I have things left unsaid, friendships to nurture, hurts to heal?

It's a reminder to LIVE today: Tomorrow is not promised. 

Visit Megan Bostic on her website or blog - The Angsty Writer


  1. I think I would be torn on that too... One. two. Maybe even three things that are like that... but a whole big bucket list where everyone in end turns out roses...I can see why that would be hard to swallow!! Thanks for the great review! :):):):):):):):):):):)

    1. People Austin visited didn't necessarily turn their life around, for me it was really just the case of too many people with big issues. Still a worthy read though :)

  2. Yeah, I can see what you are meaning. That does sound very cliché.

    1. B it's also a poignant reminder to not take life for granted :)

  3. Great review and the reminder is so pointed and needed at times!

  4. Yeah, it was a little cliche but the ending still made me cry! I also wanted a bit more about his disease. If I hadn't read the synopsis and known the title, I would have been very confused.


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