“I wait for him, the cold seeping through my clothes, until it finally dawns on me that he’s not coming back. And I wonder why he chose her instead of me? Why he went looking for her when I was right there.”
Tai and Juliet have been best friends forever – since they met at kindy and decided to get married in first grade.
They understand each other in the way that only best friends can.
They love music, beach walks, energy drinks and, they are slowly discovering, each other.
As they dream of adventures beyond the HSC – a future free of homework, curfews and parents, a life together – their plans are suddenly and dramatically derailed.
For Tai is sick.
And not everything you wish for can come true.
A poignant story of first love, hope, grief, family, and the twistedness of life.
I read this with a permanent lump in my throat. You know, the one you get when you’re sick or trying not to cry?
Yeah. It wasn’t that comfortable, but despite this, I kept reading and couldn’t put it down.
I started to read this while babysitting one night, and upon reflecting this was not the best idea.
The book barely starts when Tai feels ill, and that coupled with the fact I’m a quick reader had the tear-jerking parts early on – not that great when you’re the responsible one taking care of two primary school aged kids and one pre-kinder kid!
I was quite critical of this book while I was reading, and I’m not sure why. I think it was easier for me to focus on what I believed were weak points while trying to ignore the beautifully-written awfulness of the plot.
So, I’m going to sort my thoughts into simple points: the good and the bad.
- I couldn’t get enough of Tai’s little brothers. They were so well-drawn, unbelievably cute and just so true to life.
- We are told that Juliet and Tai have been best friends since kinder, and quite close to the start they get together and start going out. I got that they were close, and the book was peppered with examples from their childhood together, but I didn’t really feel their closeness, like I would have if it was shown, or explored a bit more before everything happened.
- I’m a bit confused as to why the quote on the back of the book (and the one that appears above) is there: there are millions of better paragraphs to pick from that represent the novel so much better than that one. That quote, as you can read, is talking about him (Tai) chasing another girl (extremely minor character) when she (Juliet) is right there. This sub-plot lasted all of two pages, so it baffles me why it made the back cover.
- All the teen characters were very ‘teen’ like, and something they did a lot was drink. Which is fine, and I don’t have a problem with that, it’s just the entire time while Tai was having treatment and getting wasted, I kept thinking, Surely you shouldn’t be drinking while on medication! Now I haven’t had what Tai has (thank god) and I don’t know anyone who has either, so perhaps Tai could drink. But even packets of Panadol say don’t drink, so surely…
- Saying that, otherwise all the medical issues came across very clearly (so idiots like me could keep up and understand) and very well researched.
- The book was extremely emotional and sad, you need a tissue box.
- Juliet made a choice towards the end of the book which I thought was extremely out of character for her. I scoffed and pouted and was very annoyed.
- The book was written alternative views of Juliet and Tai, which I loved. There was some over-lapping scenes where it was told from both sides, which could get annoying, but I liked as you saw the stark differences between males and females. Beautifully done.
- The writing was simple, but heavy, and just right for the book.
I really loved this book. I thought the ending was handled very nicely and suited just right.
If you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking, crying-fest definitely pick it up.
But if you’re just in the mood for a great (love) story, read it.
It’s out today.
For more information,
Pan Macmillan’s website