Move on, live your life, Kaylee, but please, never forget me.
To be published on January 17, 2012 by HMH Children’s Books.
Rating: 4 Stars!!!
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.
This was a very quick read for me and I finished it in one sitting. I just could not bring myself to put the book down. I wanted to see what crazy scenario Austin was going to come up with next.
Austin is a typical seventeen year old kid whom has cancer. He is trying to deal with it the only way he knows how while trying to come to terms with certain things that have happened in his short life.
With him on his journey, he brings his best friend, Kaylee. She drives him wherever he wants to go and does not ask too many questions. Some of the places he visits are just to see an old friend. Others are places he just had to see one more time.
While reading the book, I felt very sad for Austin. No teenager should have to go through all of the heartache he has. At first, I thought he was only doing this little life journey for himself, but it turns out that he is trying to help others in the process.
I loved the idea of Austin and Kaylee and was saddened that they had so little time together.
This story made me laugh and blubber like a baby. I was really able to feel for the characters and felt their loss. The ending was perfect and I was happy that there was an epilogue for us to see the “what happened after”. Ms. Bostic wrote a wonderful insightful story about one boys struggles with death and trying to piece together those he cares about before his final time comes. Absolutely epic!
Interview with Megan Bostic:
How did you come up with the title of the book?
Well, it’s kind of an uninteresting story. The original title was Mending Fences, and my editor, Julia, said that, while it was a good title, it didn’t really portray the gravity ofAustin’s situation.
One day at my parent’s house, I told them I needed to come up with a new name. We talked about the details of the book— Austinand his journey, his predicament, and my dad simply said, “Never Eighteen”. There was no need to think anymore after that. It fit perfectly.
What were the challenges to getting the book published?
I think a better question would be, what weren’t the challenges. As all writers know, getting a publishing deal feels about as likely as winning the lotto.
This biggest challenge is finding an agent. Without an agent, most publishing houses won’t even glance at you. I’m not sure what the ratio of aspiring writers to literary agents is, but I’m sure it’s probably about 1,000,000:1 or worse. It’s not just about writing the book either, it’s about the talent, the market, the timing, and of course, you have to throw a huge amount of luck in there too.
I toiled over Never Eighteen to get it to a place where I felt good about querying it out. Fifteen revisions, about twenty-five rejections, a handful of cry fests, and a couple fists full of hair later, I found representation. After that, for me at least, it was cake. The book sold in about two weeks.
What book are you reading right now?
I just started OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy. It’s about a Jewish girl at a Christian summer camp facing challenges, boys, and adversity. I’m only a short way in, and so far, I’m really enjoying it. I knew I would of course, Amy is part of the Class of 2k11, and I’ve not been disappointed by any of the 2k11 novels so far.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I always loved to write since I was little, but sat down to write my first novel at age thirty-three. It was the beginning of a superhero series. Um, that one didn’t get me very far in my journey to publication. J I am planning on doing major revisions and maybe putting it out there again.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I stand by two pieces of advice. One, always try to be better. We will never reach perfection, but we can always improve our craft. How? People will tell you to take classes, join writing groups, etc. Those things are well and good, but I think every writer needs to find their own method of improvement. Mine is to practice (by writing as much as possible) and to get feedback. Feedback can be difficult to bear, but can also be an invaluable learning tool.
My other piece of advice is to never quit. This business can be slow, frustrating, irritating, and downright nasty, but it’s like childbirth, when you’re sitting there holding your baby in your arms for the first time, you’ll forget all about how painful the process had been.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on another contemporary YA that deals with teen issues. This one is about a girl who suffers depression that leads to cutting. It’s tentatively titled Sad. I like to call it a story of loss, loathing, and lacerations.
Character Interview With Austin:
Your demographics? Name, age, where you live?
My name is Austin Parker. I’m seventeen-years-old. I live in Tacoma, WA, in the north end.
What do you believe is a person’s first impression of you?
When people first look at me, there is always pity and sadness in their eyes. When they talk to me though, they see that I’ve very much still full of life and I want that for everyone else too. That and I’m a bit of a joker.
Do you have a girlfriend? A crush?
I’m in love with my best friend, Kaylee. I’ve loved her since the first day I saw her, way back in third grade. I’ve never told her how I feel about her though. I’m afraid she’d reject me and things would get weird between us.
Your best friend’s name and how long you have known each other?
Well, I already mentioned Kaylee. My other best friend was Jake. We’d been friends since kindergarten. We loved just hanging out, watching movies, and were on the same soccer team. That’s all I can say about him. Talking about him is too upsetting.
Giveaway Prize Pack:
Here is a look at the prize pack that was sent to me by Megan Bostic! The swag for this book is awesome!
What you will receive:
1 signed ARC copy of Never Eighteen
1 Temporary Tattoo
1 Notepad and Pen
1. MUST be a follower
2. Must live in the USA, sorry to my international readers:(
3. Contest will end on the Book Birthday of January 17th.
4. Winner will be chosen by Random.org
5. Fill out the form:
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