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by Sarah Benwell

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
HL640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years


A teen grapples with ALS and his decision to die in this “deeply moving” (Booklist, starred review) debut novel infused with the haunting grace of Japanese poetry and the noble importance of friendship.

Sora is going to die, and he’s only seventeen years old. Diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), he’s already lost the use of his legs, which means he can no longer attend school. Seeking a sense of normality, Sora visits teen chat rooms online and finally finds what he’s been longing for: friendship without pity.

As much as he loves his new friends, he can’t ignore what’s ahead. He’s beginning to lose the function of his hands, and soon he’ll become even more of a burden to his mother. Inspired by the death poems of the legendary Japanese warriors known as samurai, Sora makes the decision to leave life on his own terms. And he needs his friends to help him.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
в�… 04/27/2015
A Kyoto teenager diagnosed with ALS connects with two new friends and weighs how to approach his imminent death from the neurological disease in Benwell’s resonant debut. Benwell laces her story with references to the evanescent and ephemeral: the fleeting fame of a popular band, the changing colors of autumn leaves, and the stars in the night sky (“So many of them will be burnt and gone before we even notice them,” Sora’s grandfather tells him during a visit in the countryside). Sora, with a heightened awareness of his mortality, notices them, and readers will, too. Sora’s fears of losing control of his degrading body and the burden he is placing on his single mother are equally evident in his measured, even cerebral narration; his relationship with his devoted mother, who can barely discuss Sora’s condition with him, is one of the novel’s most tender threads, along with Sora’s mutually rewarding new friendship with Kaito and Mai. It’s a memorable and haunting story of a boy’s determination to seize control of the limited time he has left. Ages 14–up. Agent: Gill McLay, Bath Literary Agency. (June)

Related Subjects

  • ">Boys in life->Teen fiction
  • ">Friendship->Teen fiction
  • ">Health issues->Teen fiction
  • ">Japanese and Japanese-American->Teen fiction
  • ">Suicide and death->Teen fiction

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