Since I began reading this book, I felt drawn to the story. Every page I read gave form to the microcosm that is Todd and Nally's story. Simply, I couldn't stop reading.
Nally and Todd are a pair who know each other during family vacation. As soon as they begin taking, Todd makes quite a shocking revelation: he has leukemia. Todd is a straight forward guy, he doesn't uses euphemisms, to him things just are, and therefore he talks about anything in a genuinely open way. Nally has never experienced attention from guys, and when Todd appears, a world of opportunities to explore life, opens in front of her. Nally begins to know herself in a new way, she embarks with this, I might add daring boy, in an emotional and sexual exploration, that ultimately will bring them to love each other and life every day as it comes. Also, a new guy makes himself visible to Nally, Alex. He will be part of the process of self-discovery Nally is having, and later in the story, will continue emerging on her life.
To me this book is pure Carpe Diem. As Seneca well explained On The Shortness Of Life, life is too short and can't be wasted on trivial pursuits (to him a good use is the study of philosophy). We will use this idea to explain what this book is about and the intensity of the emotions involved in the story. Life has to be lived at its fullest, time cannot be wasted. This boy, Todd had a crazy life previous to his leukemia diagnostic. When he is diagnosed, he losses all the people around him, having to fight without support. When he knows Nally this an opportunity to have someone by his side. He and Nally share everything, love, saddness, Todd's sickness and a new found sexuality for both of them. Nally had never experience this, and Todd although experienced, we can infer this is the first time he is emotionally involved. Their relationship is intense as we can see by the description of their encounters. They are young and living the moment, life is full of ephemeral moments, but if we unite all of those events we can build a whole rich experience. That's what they did. They fought side-by-side everyday trying to grab life, but sometimes, fighting and wanting are not enough.
The story ends, some characters prefer to continue fighting, others prefer to seize life, stop fighting and enjoy life and remember themselves in happiness, and that their love ones remember them as well. Todd is one of this characters, a fantastic character.
About this book:
I received this book for review purpose, via Amanda Pendulla at Stuck In YA Books for the Blog Tour she is hosting. I'm glad I could be part of this blog tour with such a great book. Author Julie Rieman Duck wrote it in a fantastic way. It is genuine and true, it shows life as it is, not a well adorned pseudo-reality. Her descriptions are quite graphic, this element is one of the things that makes this book one of my favorites.
While reading, I remembered the song Young Blood by The Naked and Famous. In fact, at page 63, I did listen to the song while reading. The video of this song is amazing and I even could picture Nally and Todd doing all the things the video shows. The song is about the youth's naivete, about love and being free. For the characters in this story, life was short but they seized it and lived it intensely no matter the circumstance.
Undoubtedly, Julie Rieman Duck is creating a YA style of her own, with an indisputable independent voice.
Do I like the characters? I developed empathy. Nally is young, she understands she has flaws, she knows and understands that her decisions and actions are not always the best and that they have repercussions to others. I like her attitude and the way she see things, she makes decisions and knows what she wants, no matter how much confusion she encounters.
Todd is extroverted and intense. At first, I was confused by him, thought he was a hypocrite. Later I understood his decisions; decisions that seemed toward simply and accustomed self- destructiveness, but then you can see he was just tired. When someone has been fighting with all they got, but truly never achieve their goal, they will just continue and enjoy the time they got and probably begin doing whatever they want, terrified to see themselves suffering again and losing what they are.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5/ The -.5 is do to the end of the story. I consider Nally a strong girl, I imagine she would be by herself at the end continuing her life (just an opinion). I recommend this book to all of you, and if you are a YA lover this will be perfect.