Rummanah Aasi
 Many thanks to The Teen Book Scene for placing me on the Never Eighteen book blog tour. I would also like to thank Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader's copy of the book so I could do this review. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic is a 2012 debut novel. The book will be released on January 17, 2012 (according to Amazon).

Description: 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.

Review: Despite its slim 200 pages, Never Eighteen packs an emotional punch that causes us to pause and reflect on the important things in life. Austin is dying and has a deadline from Father Time. Knowing that he can't change his hand at fate, Austin makes the decision of how he wants to be remembered and to leave. His need to believe that he can make a difference in the lives of others propels him to creates a list of people he would like to talk to and places he would like to visit before he goes. He recruits his best friend and secret crush, Kaylee, to be his chauffeur and thus sets off on a three day journey.
  Though I knew Never Eighteen would be a somber read, I loved Bostic's idea of a three day journey of self reflection. Throughout the book, we see Austin visiting a different friend and giving his advice on their troubles. Though Bostic includes a description on how each person has a connection with Austin, I didn't get emotionally invested in them and as a result, what is suppose to be an important moment came across as two characters who are simply talking with one another, which really is such a shame since many of Austin's friends have serious issues ranging from alcoholism to being in an abusive relationship. Their stories require a long of page presence to add weight to the book. With the exception of Kaylee, Austin's best friend, I remained distant to all the other characters. I think one of the reasons I felt this way is because there is such a large number of people that Austin visits.  Had the author picked a selected number of people and expanded their stories, I think I would have a much stronger reaction to the book.
   Despite this hiccup, I really liked Austin. Austin's voice is so real and genuine. I never once felt that he was preachy in talking to others nor did I ever question his motives for starting his journey. It is obvious that he spent a long time working on his plan and though what transpires may not always be what he expected, he wanted to do his best and let others know that people do indeed care about them. Austin's relationship with Kaylee is one of the book's highlights for me. I loved how their relationship began and evolved. Without saying much they are able to understand one another. They can kid around but also call each others bluff, which is what best friends do. Their shared moments of epiphany, particularly went out hiking left me teary eyed and nodding along in agreement.
  Yes, Never Eighteen is a sad book but it is not brought down by Austin's "woe is me" and "I'm dying so I know all life's answers" attitude. It is heartfelt, uplifting, and some may call it didactic. My eyes did water at the end of the book, but I remember Austin like he would want us to remember him: sweet, funny, caring, and all around a great guy who reminds us to live the life we want to live because we never know when it will be taken away from us.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking scenes, and an allusion to sex. Recommended for mature 8th graders and up.

If you like this book try: Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Deadline by Chris Crutcher, I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
6 Responses
  1. Glad Austin's voice sounds realistic. This seems like something that could sound very fake if not done well. Sounds like a pretty good book.

  2. Jenny Says:

    I feel like I will most likely be in tears by the end of this one, but I'm so glad to know the story isn't weighed down too much with the fact that Austin is dying and instead focuses on some brighter things. I can definitely see how having Austin visit so many people would prevent you from really getting involved with any of them, and that is a bit of a shame, I always like getting super involved with characters. Really lovely review Rummanah!

  3. I've found that if the book is written well, it doesn't need a lot of pages to tell a compelling story. I haven't read this book yet, but I do agree that it sounds like Austin's tale would have made more of an impact if only a few people were visited.

  4. Oh I'm so glad you reviewed this one after the last post. I'm still thinking that I need to read this one. I like the uplifting and heartfelt feel to it. I'll just have to save it for a time when I need a good cry!

  5. This one sounds like my type of book! I like that Austin chooses to focus on the positive, but it's too bad that you couldn't connect to the other characters as much.

  6. I'm a crier, so I'd probably cry for half the book. Although, that relationship between Austin and Kaylee sounds so sweet and perfect. I really love reading about best friends who turn into more. Too bad about the other characters, but it sounds like it doesn't hurt the plot a ton. I really don't read too many sad books, so I probably won't read this one, but who knows....the library may urge me to pick it up. ;D

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails