Scholastic. Apr. 2021. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338630961. POP.
Gr 7 Up–Fourteen-year-old Cara Wakely has been sick her entire life and has a rare autoimmune disease that prevents her from having a typical teenage life—going to school, going to parties, even having any friends. Her mother Shaylene, who is her only semblance of a friend, is at her beck and call. Shaylene has all the notes, medications, prescriptions, and according to herself, qualifications to provide at-home care for Cara. As Cara grows up, her absences in school become an issue, and she and her mother are faced with backlash and accusations regarding Cara’s illness. Begrudgingly, Shaylene accepts Cara’s requests for a tutor. Xavier, aka Science Kid, aids Cara with her schoolwork, and with tools to understand what her sickness really might be and how to advocate for herself. Readers are taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, where feelings of sympathy are mixed with mystery and intrigue into how Cara’s life has turned out the way it has. Corrigan’s prose seamlessly creates a feeling of unease in readers, without a way to pinpoint its source, and she paints credible, deep, and complex characters. The book feels as real as the news story it echoes, and the tension is palpable to the very end. Cara is white and Xavier is Black.
VERDICT Recommend to readers who enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark, and Rachael Lippincott’s Five Feet Apart, or those who like to read fiction based on true accounts.

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