Sunday 12 August 2012

225. Every Thing Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson

Every Thing Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson
Published August 2012 Pan Macmillan

From the publisher:

Tai and Juliet have been best friends forever – since they met at kindy and decided to get married in first grade.
They understand each other in the way that only best friends can.
They love music, beach walks, energy drinks and, they are slowly discovering, each other.
As they begin to dream of adventures beyond the HSC – a future free of homework, curfews and parents, a life together – their plans are suddenly and dramatically derailed.
For Tai is sick.
And not everything you wish for can come true.
A poignant story of first love, hope, grief, family, and the twistedness of life.

I have had my two animals eating people picture books already this month and now I have my second dying teenager.  While I didn't need tissues with the early one The Probability of Miracles I did get a bit teary with this one.

This book is told in alternate chapters, Tai's and Juliet's.  Tai and Juliet have been best friends forever, but on her last year of High School Juliet realises she likes him as more than a friend, and she gets up the courage to tell him.  He too feels that way about Juliet, so from then on they are a couple.

Only weeks into their new relationship Tai starts getting headaches, and a visit to the doctor and a scan show that he has a brain tumour...a big one.  There is nothing they can do, it's too dangerous to remove, so they remove part and treat with chemo, prolonging his life, not saving it.

So what we have is a heartbreaking story of first love.  While most people don't expect to stay with their first love forever, these two know that their relationship will exist for only a brief time.  Through the alternate chapters we get a real insight into how Tai is dealing with his fears and how he copes now that people treat him differently, and how he feels knowing that he has to leave Juliet behind.

Juliet's story is difficult too.  Her world is full of loving Tai, and coming to terms with his inevitable death, but at the same time she is in her final year of hight school, and unlike Tai, she still has to plan for her future.  When Tai becomes distant and withdrawn she starts to feel that she needs more from him, which means she has to deal with feelings of guilt on top of everything else.

For all of it's depressing sadness, I liked this book.  It was more than just a book about a dying boy.  Apart from the story of Tai's illness, the book is also an honest look at the last year of school, where people deal with their stresses in different ways, and friends start to plan their futures outside of their small circles.  It is honest, so there's more than a little bit of 'sneaky vodka', a DIY nose piercing, first sex (although not graphic) and a trip to schoolies that involves a tongue piercing.

Who will like this book: Girls age 15+Read it if you like: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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