Deadline by Chris Crutcher
galley from BEA
due out September 2007 from HarperTeen
I'm a little ashamed to admit this is the first book I've ever read by Crutcher. He'll be bumped up on the list of authorss I need to read now.
Deadline is the tale of Ben Wolf, a just turned 18-year-old who's also just found out he has a very aggressive and terminal blood disease. You'll be lucky to have a year. His doctor says something to that effect and Ben decides he's going to make that year count. No treatment, and no coddling. So, without telling anyone he sets out to squeeze a lifetime's worth of living in to one year.
This could have been an extremely depressing, frustrating and infuriating book, but somehow Crutcher manages to avoid all that. It is sad and thought-provoking, and yes, even funny. I could see the beauty and bravery in Ben's decision, but also the cowardice. I can respect Ben's decision, but I know I'd never make the same. Most likely, this is a book for older readers. It's really great for anyone struggling with issues of mortality.
Ben's story reminded me how grown up I felt at 18, too. Also, of a schoolmate of mine who made the same decision. I never could understand why, but now I kind of get it.
A note on the cover:
Though interesting (I love the bright colors) the cover never quite grabbed me. Just now searching for a picture, and seeing it online, I felt that sense of unease, of the world being turned upside down. That's probably exactly what I'm supposed to feel.