Invincible by Amy Reed
Katherine Tegen Books, 2015. 978-0-06-22957-4. $17.99. 325 p.
Evie is a patient in a teen cancer ward.
She has had Ewing’s Sarcoma for most of her life, and feels more at home in the hospital with her fellow patients. Like any teen, she wants to act out. Stella is only too happy to help her. Stella becomes Evie’s outlandish roll model until they escape the hospital for a day and Stella dies. Evie falls into despair, as she knows her own death is also imminent. This is a 3 kleenex box portion of the book.
Suddenly, Evie’s cancer disappears! She goes home, finds that she is a stranger at home, at school, with the boyfriend who has stuck by her, and in her mind. She can’t shake the depression, and falls into prescription drug abuse. Her parents too have spent so much of their lives dealing with imminent death, that they become pretty ineffectual. Evie also meets Marcus, who is scarred in different ways, and while he tries to help Evie, the descent is horrifying to watch.
Reed creates real characters. This is not Fault in our Stars. It is a visceral reaction to finding that you are going to live after years of preparing for death. Tough themes are tackled with grace and realism, adding to the difficulty in placing this book in a school library. We can’t read only tearful, sweet stories of death and acceptance. This is the real world.
Set for a sequel, we will not read how Evie’s story ends until next summer.
Recommended 14 up.