Plank's Law

192p. Orca. Sept. 2017. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781459812499.
Gr 9 Up—Trevor is 16 and facing death from Huntington's disease. Based on descriptions of his behavior and habits, Trevor likely has anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As he stands ready to jump off a cliff, he meets a very old man. Trevor and Plank, a former teacher, forge an unlikely friendship. Plank convinces Trevor to update his simplistic bucket list and follow Plank's Law, or the idea of living life to the fullest. Trevor's awareness of his mortality leads to philosophical discussions on religions; he seeks to be both a good Christian and a Buddhist. A friend's sudden death, which may be a suicide, changes Trevor's perspective further. In treatment, the protagonist meets Sara, a cancer patient, which leads him to cross one item off the list: get a girlfriend. The growth of Trevor and Sara's relationship makes up the bulk of the story; it is sweet but not overly sappy. Familial history and relationships also play a factor in Trevor's shifting worldview. With a strong male protagonist, plain and sometimes blunt language, and an opening in the style of The Catcher in the Rye, this short novel may hook reluctant readers.
VERDICT An additional purchase.

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