Meet Lane, who is focused on getting to college. He’s planned his life out and is driven to succeed. Getting TB was never part of his plan. Going to Latham was never part of his plan. But TB had caught him.
And he met Sadie.
This book is pitched for all the John Green lovers of the universe. And yes, I would say this has its John Green moments with meaningful quotes and quirky characters but they weren’t pretentious. They didn’t feel too absurdly quirky that they didn’t feel like real people.
So let’s talk about Lane and Sadie, the dual narrators.
Lane always thought about the future, and always moving forwards. Preparing for SATs, founding clubs just so it would look good on college applications and the like. Even when he was at Latham, he never stopped thinking about what he was going to do when he got out. But once he was away from all of that stress in his life, he was different in a splendidly good way. Secret Harry Potter nerd, funny and sweet.
Sadie. Funny, smart, badass Sadie. Poor Sadie. I felt so sorry for her. There’s so much life and spunk inside her but there’s so much insecurity and fear which creates an awesome, compelling character. She never belonged in her past life and was more free to be herself at Latham, making her ultimately doomed.
I liked how diverse the characters were. Nick, the Indian-alcoholic-business-tycoon-who-loves-Sadie boy. Marina, the African-American-fanfiction-writing (?)-vintage-dress-loving (?) girl. And Charlie, the gay-artsy-musical-ukulele-toting-extremely-sick boy. Although I have to say that Nick and Charlie were the most memorable of her friends. Marina didn’t have much of an impact in terms of her friendship with Sadie or to the plot. I remembered Genevieve more than her and Genevieve was barely in the story.
But I never understood why Sadie, Lane and their friends felt the need to go out and drink. In the woods. Alone. They’re trying to heal and RECOVER and they’re wasting time by fooling around with their health? Their lives? It didn’t make sense to have them do stupid, ridiculous things with their lives at Latham. And WHY? Were they trying to be rebellious? WHY? There were a million other ways to be rebellious and they were doing exactly that! Dressing to the nines at a pajama party? Sadie at breakfast time? Those were brilliant!
The drunken antics. did. not. compute. with. my. brain.
Unfortunately the plot and set-up felt too cliche. High-strung, overachieving character finds new meaning in life and love in quirky, intelligent love interest. It had its interesting moments such as the setting of Latham and the extraordinary means of preserving life which I wish there was more elaboration on because it felt like it was just dumped there for irony.
The story was predictable. That summer camp when the two protagonists were 13 misunderstanding was glaringly obvious. I knew who was going to die and who was going to live (perhaps, there was too much foreshadowing?).
Despite all of the predictability, my heartstrings were still pulled. Especially at the end. When Sadie died. And that heartbreaking quote: “Sadie died, not of tuberculosis, but of the thing she’d been convinced would cure her.”
Everything inside of me felt like it was splitting apart when I read that.
Despite the predictability, I didn’t hate it. I quite liked it, thanks to the interesting setting and characters. It just wasn’t as memorable as I wanted it to be. I also thought the ending was tied up almost too nicely, with a life lesson to boot. I like books with indeterminate endings, that leave me with questions but are still satisfying.
Rating: 3 stars