Saturday, August 9, 2014

For Your TBR Pile - The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
By Shaun David Hutchinson
Published: January 20, Simon Pulse

From GoodReads
: Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived. Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.

Thank you Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for the eARC!

My Thoughts:

There's something really temporary about hospitals. The entire time you are there, you're waiting: to be seen, to be healed, to find out what comes next. For Andrew Brawley, he's waiting to die because he cheated death once. Now, with nowhere to go and no one to go to, he makes a his own temporary home inside the hospital befriending the staff and patients.

To cover his tracks and to explain to anyone who questions why he's there so much, he works under the table in the cafeteria and visits his grandmother who is in a coma. But death (aka the social worker) is still looking for him, waiting for him to slip up.

I was completely captivated by Andrew's story. The premise is brilliant, and had me questioning how Hutchinson was going to pull this off in the end. How could a boy slip through the cracks and go entirely unnoticed in a hospital with so many people bustling around?

But what I loved the most about this book was while Andrew's stuck in his purgatory, he's not living his life. When you're waiting, you're not falling in love or having adventures or seeing or experiencing new things. Slowly, he experiences these things through his make-shift hospital family: the ER doctors who keep him updated on the patients, his boss in the cafeteria who is grieving the loss of a son, and friendships with the teenagers in the pediatrics unit.

This was a brilliant story, full of heart and enough suspense to keep you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this one to readers of David Levithan.

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