I got a ARC of this book at Yallwest and was so excited to read it since it was a #ownvoices book. I hardly see own voices when it comes to books about chronic illness, chronic pain, or disabilities so I love that this is one of those books.
Summary: Ricky has been recently diagnosed with a chronic illness and is pretty angry about it. Not only does she now have to deal with constant pain but her family is a mess, and the boy she likes doesn’t even know she exists. The only way she can think of to cope with this is through cursing and skipping school. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for her through her lashing out it is reveled to her parents that she has been skipping school and has a lot to make-up for if she plans on not repeating the 9th grade. Is Ricky going to make-up for lost time and is she gonna learn the importance of asking for help?
Thoughts: I will always appreciate a #ownvoices book because I don’t have to wonder if you know what the character feels like. While I know this is one person’s experience at least it is someone’s experience rather than information gathered from the internet that can sometimes be inaccurate.
I really enjoy how angry Ricky is at the world and how sometimes she even recognizes that her anger is misplaced. I know that this can sometimes throw you off as a reader but more me it made me find her relatable. She reminded me of having to go through multiple doctors and many tears before someone finally realized that the problem was asthma and that it wasn’t going away.
I love when she doesn’t want her arthritis to keep her from enjoying things and how hard she tries to keep doing things even if she’s in pain. In addition to this I love how she keeps thinking of others as brave and how this book shows her looking at other people with disabilities because I think that’s very realistic. This book does a great job at portraying the different levels in identity development when it comes to disability and it reminded me of my process through that.
Something that I loved and couldn’t get enough of was the friendship between Ricky and Oliver, and the relationship between Ricky and her public speaking teacher. Oliver and Ricky, WOW those two made me laugh, cry, and smile. I love the complexity and simpleness of their friendship and how that develops over time and becomes much more than just a friendship due to understanding pain.
Overall this book is an amazing read and I love so much about it. It was just something that made me feel less alone even if the disability is different than mine. I read it after I got too sick to enjoy a baseball game with my friend and hated myself for having to pace myself and take it slow in the heat. I told myself I should’ve known better, that it’s happened before and the doctor already warned me but I was still upset that I missed out. This book was my companion as I sat out the game and then as I had to stay in bed the next day to let my body recover, so thank you Karol Ruth Silverstein because during that time your book made me feel like I was gonna be okay and I didn’t ruin anyone’s day.
I recommend this to those of you who want to know about chronic illness and chronic pain, and for those of you who enjoy books about illnesses, here is one that doesn’t romanticize any of it.
You can purchase this on Amazon or look for it at your local library. I would love to talk to all of you about this book.