Friday, August 16, 2013

Somebody Up There Hates You

Did anyone read Lurlene McDaniels' books?  You know, the ones where a teen has a terminal illness, and falls in love, and starts to get better, and then tragedy strikes and you're left with an empty box of tissues?  

This isn't quite like that.

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon is a YA novel about a boy with cancer.  Young Richard Casey is 17 years old, has cancer, and is now spending is final days in hospice care.  With Sylvie, the girl across the hall, and a cast of patients, caregivers, and family, Richie makes the most of the time he has left.

I went into this with some skepticism- is this going to be another Fault in Our Stars?  I'm happy to say, the two are completely different.  Apart from teenage romance...and terminal illness.  I felt Somebody Up There Hates You was much grittier.  It dealt with the graphic, medical aspects of cancer- and as sad as it was, Richie's narration had me laughing out loud on a fairly regular basis.  Actually, I was laughing by the end of the first page.

Now, the books does get a bit American Pie-y, with our main characters not wanting to die virgins,'s real.  And I mean, at this point, the raging teen boy hormones are about the only normal thing left for Richie.  Also, remembering that Richie is a teen boy, with those raging hormones, don't be surprised at some of the raunchiness that makes its way in there.

The cast of characters is great- from the awesome nurses, Edward and Jeannette, to Richie's black sheep Uncle Phil, to the "harpy" (an old woman with crazy hair who plays the harp in the lobby...all. day. long.) and the two old men across the hall. These aren't one-dimensional characters, they're real with real experiences, and real problems.  There's actually a great quote from Edward to Richie, about how the world is "universally sad" and all people hurt, and basically, don't be a douche canoe.

This isn't a happy story, but it takes something tragic and makes it...human.  Life has a range of emotions, and this book has them all.  Anger, hurt, hormones, laughter, sadness, concern...

Again, it's raunchy and gritty, sad and probably for older teens.  But good.

Somebody Up There Hates You is published by Alognquin Young Readers.  ARC graciously provided by the publisher.
Release Date: 09.03.2013

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