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.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.
Title: Never Eighteen
Author: Megan Bostic
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Thomas Allen & Son Ltd for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Blog Tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below the review.
My rating: 3/5
Austin knows that he is nearing the end of his life. He is resigned to his fate, and wants to mend fences with those around him and he also wants to talk to those who have touched his life in various ways. His best friend, Kaylee, helps him out on his mission, and they also visit some places that have meaning for Austin. What starts out as a mission to mend fences and saying goodbye to those Austin loves, turns into a road trip of bittersweet memories which brings resolution and meaning to the remaining days of Austin's life.
Many readers can relate to Austin as he reminisces over the past and his role in peoples lives. He doesn't have much time left due to being in the end stages of leukemia. He knows he won't live too much longer, so he decides to pay his respects to those around him, specifically everyone who has touched his life. His story has great bones, and would have been all the more bittersweet had I formed more of an emotional attachment to him. I ached for his situation, but didn't feel that his story was as fully developed and realized as it could have been. I commiserated with him as he made the rounds through his friends and acquaintances; however some of the interactions between the characters could have been fleshed out a little more. It would have been all the more poignant.
Kaylee was a great sidekick and friend to Austin. She was there for him throughout and I enjoyed reading about her, and how she handled all of the requests Austin sent her way. She was unflappable and helped him meet everyone on his list, as well as helped him with some of his more unusual requests; such as eating the hottest chicken wings around, and conquering some rides at the fair. She was strong, especially knowing that this may have been one of the last times that Austin could walk around freely without being bedridden. She stood resolutely by Austin and I admired her for being so strong for him. It must not have been easy for her to stand by and watch as the leukemia stole her best friend's life from him.
All in all, this is a bittersweet read. It would have been all the more poignant had it been fleshed out a little more. It does have amazing bones, and many unique individuals grace the pages of Never Eighteen. Austin's story is a sad one, but is also uplifting in the sense that he was able to touch all of those lives and leave behind so many fond memories.