Live Fast, Die Young by Vanessa Barneveld
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Kindle E-Book
Publisher: Vanessa Barneveld
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Total Pages: 118
I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this impacted my opinion of this book or the review provided below.
Molly Corbett can’t stand seeing her childhood pal Alex Gibson destroy himself. He’s gone from straight-A student to rebel without a cause. With so much at stake, some serious interference is called for—or at least Micromanaging Molly thinks so. Alex needs to get back on the path to the Ivy League. But the harder Molly pushes Alex, the harder he pushes back.
Alex has a secret.
Well, two secrets. Number one: He has terminal melanoma. With six months to live, Alex hasn’t got a second to waste. And hanging around hospitals when his friends think he’s cutting school definitely counts as wasted time. Instead, he’s going to drop out, surf, drive fast cars…and finally put secret number two out there. He’s in love with Molly and he’s going to tell her before it’s too late.
Hey! So I know that you’re here to read a review, but I think I’ve misplaced something. I would appreciate if you could just hang tight for a second while I attempt to find the rest of this book.
Oh wait… There is no more. Can that even be possible? Is that even fair? NO. THE ANSWER IS NO, IT IS NOT FAIR. But, the other answer is that yes, it is possible, because it happened! Which is just so wrong. So, I think you get my first point about this book, it’s a travesty that it’s so short. Mentally prepare for that before you read this, because I somehow (please don’t ask me how) overlooked this and had no idea that this was actually a novella. So, yeah… imagine my surprise when the pages just, stopped.
ALRIGHT. I’ll stop complaining. Onto the (hopefully?) helpful stuff…
This book deals with some pretty tough subjects including loss, grief, and coping. For such shitty subjects, I think that they’re handled as gently as possible in this. I’m not going to say that this book didn’t break my heart, because it did, but it was also … hopeful? The focus wasn’t just on negative of having terminal melanoma, but also about dealing with that fact and trying to make the most out of the time that remained, which isn’t an easy feat for someone at young as Alex. I think it provided a good lesson that life should be lived to the fullest. Yes, I know, easier said than done, and I’m totally guilty of not doing it myself, but books like this are such a huge freaking slap in the face that you’ve got one life and you’ve got to live it! Eat that dessert, forgive that person, and jump out of that plane (with a parachute, of course)…! Your time is not limitless, so make the most of what you have.
Aside from what I found to be inspiration to live life to the fullest, this story also puts dealing with difficult situations into perspective. There are so many ways to deal with challenges, you can be so angry that all you do is go around breaking stuff, you can fall into a bottomless black hole of self-pity, or you can try to find some sort of silver lining. Not to make this about me (I mean, it is my blog so I guess I can do that a little bit), but recently I’ve been getting dealt some pretty shitty cards, and I’m the first to admit that I have not been the best at handling the situations. After I read this, I definitely felt a little ashamed about how I’d been acting. This book is a reminder that you cannot control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you react to those things.
The ending of this is pretty wide open. Normally I am not a fan of stories that do not get wrapped up nicely with a pretty little bow on top so that I understand exactly what happens. For this one, though, I think I am okay with it. It’s sort of like a “choose your own adventure” … “choose your own end to Alex and Molly’s story”. Personally, I’m choosing the happy path.
Do you usually enjoy novellas? This one surprised me, I normally don’t find that it’s enough time to get me into the story, but I got into this one.