A Story About Cancer with a Happy Ending

illus. by India Desjardins. 96p. Frances Lincoln. Jan. 2019. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781786039774.
RedReviewStarGr 6–10—A 15-year-old girl living with leukemia for five years visits the doctor to learn how long she has to live. Flashbacks through years of treatments, the death of her friend, Maxine, and falling in love with Victor make for a richly personal story. Paradoxically, readers never learn the name of the main character. She reflects on the actions and reactions of parents, friends, and acquaintances as she experiences colors, scents, and sounds and relives the emotional journey of cancer. Just as the protagonist is about to give up hope and doesn't think she can wait any longer to talk with her doctor, she learns that she is cured. As the story closes, and the heroine reveals the news to Victor, she sheds a coat of shadows, and color comes back into the picture. Borderless paintings integrate with the text to say much more than either media could alone. From pain and sadness to hope and love, dramatic illustrations extend feelings with shadows of blue-gray and red-purple.
VERDICT Through a well-told first person account and captivating illustrations, this personal yet universal story of illness and hope presents the many shades of human emotion. An excellent selection.

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