Saturday, November 30, 2019

Book Review: "Sick Kids in Love" by Hannah Moskowitz

This book was utterly amazing and so not the tearjerker I was expecting!!

"I guess when I met him I felt some kind of camaraderie. Here was someone who was just going to deal with the everyday slog of being sick for the rest of his normal-length life until he died of something completely unrelated, just like me. That’s a weird and special and boring kind of existence that you don’t get to share with a lot of people."

Isabel and Sasha meet cute in the infusion room of a hospital. She’s being treated for her rheumatoid arthritis, he has a genetic illness few have heard of, Gaucher disease. She’s immediately attracted to his carefree, easy manner, but she’s definitely not interested in dating. Sasha thinks she’s adorable. They figure they’ll see each other again in a few months when their treatments overlap.

But they encounter each other much quicker, because he breaks his arm and is back in the hospital when she’s volunteering. (Her father helps run the hospital, so she's there a lot.) For Isabel, whose intensity is driven by fear and anger and insecurity, who can never make a decision without crowdsourcing and overthinking, Sasha is an oasis of humor, calm (even when he’s struggling), and of course, handsomeness. She has sworn off dating (not for any particular reason, but she said she wasn't going to do it), but when all signs point to a relationship with Sasha, she isn't sure what to do.

Their friendship intensifies, as for the first time both understand exactly how the other feels about doctors who don’t listen, impatient nurses, people who don’t take your illness seriously or expect you to do more than you can. Sasha falls in love with Isabel but she’s afraid to let down her guard.

I may be morbid, but one of my favorite books of the decade is The Fault in Our Stars, so I jumped into this book ready to have my heart torn to pieces. And it was, but not for the reasons I expected. These kids are ALIVE despite their illnesses and have differing ways of dealing with that and those around them. Their love story is both unique and familiar, and just so beautiful (although they are, at times, more sophisticated than your average teenager).

I read this Sick Kids in Love in a matter of just a few hours. After I finished I discovered that Hannah Moskowitz wrote a book called Gone Gone Gone about seven years ago, and I also loved that. So she’s definitely a writer you need to read, even if reading about ill teenagers isn't your thing.

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