Synopses & Reviews
Twelve-year-old Abby North's first hint that something is really wrong with her dad is how long it's taking him to recover from what she thought was routine surgery. Soon, the thing she calls "It" has a real name: cancer. Before, her biggest concerns were her annoying brother, the crush unaware of her existence, and her changing feelings for her best friend, Spence, the boy across the street. Now, her mother cries in the shower, her father is exhausted, and nothing is normal anymore. Amy Ackley's impressive debut is wrenching, heartbreaking, and utterly true.
"This sprawling story, the first YA winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, begins with Abby at age 11 when her father's cancer is first discovered and moves through his decline, death, and its aftermath, continuing into Abby's sophomore year of high school. Abby's friends Spence and Leise are her primary sources of support, though both characters are thinly drawn, existing solely to be there for Abby. As for Abby, her defining qualities are naÃ¯vetÃ© (regarding both the gravity of her father's condition and Spence's growing feelings for her), denial of the lingering anger her father's death has left her with, and self-absorption, as she pushes away nearly everyone who reaches out to her. Ackley taps into the loneliness of the grieving process, as well as the pain that comes with such a primary loss; while the story suffers from unnecessary length, a ponderous pace, and a third-person narrative that swings between an off-the-cuff, teenage voice and some quirky, stodgy phrasings, readers who stick with it will appreciate Abby's steady journey to acceptance. Ages 12 up. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Ackley brings Abby's voice to life, capturing all the fear, hope, and confusion involved in trying to cope with the most grown-up of issues while still only a teen. You can't help but want Abby to finally discover her own kind of peace, and readers will be pulling for her throughout her journey." -Sarah Dessen
"Tells its story beautifully and movingly, and it earns its hopeful ending. Ackley is without question a talented writer." -Nancy Werlin
About the Author
Amy Ackley lives in Brighton, Michigan.