When I was presented with an opportunity to review this book, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to. I didn’t really want to read about sickness, pain, suffering and death. But in the end, I was glad I did.
Melissa Kantor did a great job in portraying a friendship so real and easy to relate to. The friendship between the main characters, Zoe and Olivia, is something everybody aspires to have.
They’re very close, loyal and committed to each other. True, they’re not perfect. Zoe displayed that quite well when she kept a major secret from Olivia about her budding romance with Olivia’s crush, Calvin. They have disagreements and arguments. But, no friendship is perfect anyway, which makes this friendship realistic.
I love the commitment that Zoe and Olivia have for each other. The fact that Zoe went to the hospital to visit Olivia after school and on weekends portrayed exactly that. Olivia, also showed commitment to her best friend by making sure Zoe still had opportunities to try and live a normal life despite the fact that Olivia was sick.
I also liked how Kantor was able to show how Zoe and Olivia’s families and friends reacted to Olivia getting sick. Although the focus of the book was on the friendship between the two, I thought it was also extremely important for the book to show how others were affected, especially their families.
Another thing I liked very much was the side story of Zoe’s budding romance with Calvin. I found it interesting how their romance started and played out throughout the rest of the story. I just wish there was more of it, but maybe that’s just me and my love for romance novels talking.
However, I have to say, despite the fact that I loved the different stories of relationships in the book, I didn’t particularly like Zoe’s character. She’s very judgmental of other people. She can be really rude and mean. At times, she can be very selfish too. I didn’t like her thoughts sometimes and the way she reacted to certain things. In real life, I don’t see myself befriending her.
My dislike of Zoe’s character made me a bit agitated and frustrated with certain parts of the book, to the point that I wanted to put it down or fast track to the next few pages. But, in the end, you have to admire her love and loyalty for her friend, which I guess, is her redeeming quality.
I was expecting this book to be more emotional and heart-wrenching. I was expecting to cry from beginning to end because I could relate to the feeling of losing someone you love (which was the reason why I was hesitant to read this in the first place). But I didn’t. I only cried in the last two chapters.
This is the second novel I’ve read about a young person experiencing a loss of someone they love to cancer. I have to say, I was more touched by that other book. Although Kantor did write emotional scenes from the moment the characters found out that Olivia had cancer, I didn’t really feel the emotions until the end.
Overall, though, I still think this is a book worth reading. A lot of people will be able to relate to the story.
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