Release Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Cancer, Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life. Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go. But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.Austin Parker cannot fix his own problems, as they are out of his hands, but he is on a mission to fix everyone else's. Not having the chance to live his own life the way he'd like to Austin is determined to make sure the people he's crossed paths with in life know how lucky they are to have a future and live it to the fullest. I admire Austin in his journey of closure, he wants to do something with his short life and feels this approach is his best chance. It was refreshing that even with his efforts things don't always go as he plans, and that's okay.
Megan Bostic has done a great job creating a book with so much feeling in it, for not only Austin and his struggles but for everyone in the story. She tackles many issues in the book, while most are only briefly discussed, they make room for a lot of emotion and consideration.
Never Eighteen is another inspirational book about struggling with an illness that I could never imagine having to face. Her characters, especially Austin and Kaylee, are strong ones with big hearts. Their friendship is as close to perfect as any, they joke and kid but both really love each other.
The book is fast paced, and a quick read. I think if the story was longer and maybe a little more detailed I could have really felt the pain and happiness expressed in the pages. I just felt like I flew through the pages and got to the end, and Austin is an admirable guy, but I felt disconnected from him even after just finishing the book, he was just, while relatable and like the boy next door, a hard to reach character. I would describe trying to connect with him as watching a TV show about someone watching a TV show and trying to understand what the characters in the show are watching on their set.
I liked Never Eighteen, it's a wonderful book about many tough issues that are everyday life for some. Austin's outlook on life and how he wants to be remembered is endearing and I'm so glad I got to read this book about his journey.