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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Young Adult Books about Kids with Disabilities/Illness and Troubled Teens

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

So I have had some young adult books sitting on my shelf for awhile. I haven't been great about getting them read. I am going to share three with you today. Each of these books share a view into the lives of kids struggling with issues. I am going to start with the non-fiction book. It is If I Kiss You, Will I Get Diabetes? by Quinn Nystrom.

The Book
If I Kiss You, Will I Get Diabetes? is a first-hand account of negotiating life with a chronic illness and lauded as a must-have book for parents, educators and healthcare professionals in understanding a teen’s perspective on living with diabetes.
This book is written in an authentic, yet easy-to-read manner that would appeal to both teens, young adults, parents, teachers and healthcare providers.
About Quinn

For the past two decades, Quinn Nystrom has been sharing her story. Her message is simple: Find a cure for diabetes and provide support and care for the 30 million Americans living with diabetes, nearly ten percent of the population. 

Quinn has been speaking on a national stage and is an energetic speaker who has inspired, informed and entertained over 300,000 people across North America.
In 2017, she was appointed by Minnesota Governor to the State Council on Disabilities, and serves on the Board for the American Diabetes Association. Quinn’s research at Syracuse University focused on how communication messages affect a type 1’s self-efficacy and after receiving her Master’s Degree, her goal for 2018/2019 became how she could use her personal experience, talents and knowledge to help medical professionals and health-related organizations understand the struggles of a person living with diabetes.

My Review

Quinn shares her personal story as well as her younger brother's. Will, her younger brother, was dianosed with type 1 diabetes right before he entered kindergarten. Quinn was ten years old then. She decided then that she would work to help find a cure. Then when she was thirteen she got her own diagnosis. Here she was struggling in seventh grade as all middle schoolers do and now she has gotten the life sentence of having diabetes. In this book she shares her highs and lows of this diagnosis and what it has meant to her life. The book gives a look into life with diabetes and it also gives young adults some palces to find help if they are dealing with this diagnosis on their own. 

Quinn shares her story from the low of dealing with the diagnosis and being different during a time in her life when everyone wants to fit in to how she was invited to meet President Bush while she was the youth advocate for the American Diabetes Association to how she dealt with diabetes in college and further. This is the book she wishes she had when she first got the diagnosis. I would go one step further and say it is a book everyone should read. It will help everyone understand the life of a diabetic as well as help people learn about accepting differences in each other. It is a must read for teachers, caregivers, parents as well as friends of diabetics, but I think everyone would benefit from the book and feeling what a life with diabetics is truly like. It is an easy read book. I read it in about a day. It is engaging as well especially for a non-fiction book. 



Our next book is a novel. It is A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen.

The Book

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

My Review

In this novel we meet Spencer and Hope. Spencer has Tourette syndrome. He has been in the shadow of his older brother and then he meets his new neighbor, Hope. She is his age and still likes to climb trees just like him and she doesn't make fun of him for his tics. Plus she is beautiful. He instantly falls for her, but they become best friends. The book goes back and forth between the point of view of each of them. They are finding their ways as adolescents. It deals with everything from first love, first kiss, losing virginity (and regrets about it), death and grief, racism, drugs and alcohol as well as dealing with the bulllies who make fun of Spencer for his tics. 

Some of the things I love in this story are how the reader sees both sides of the story and sees how the miscommunication and misinterpretation happens. I also love how accepting Hope is of Spencer and how Spencer struggles to support Hope when her sister dies. It also shows kids trying to figure out life. It starts with them entering eighth grade through past high school graduation. It adds in the struggles of Tourette's as well as the death of a sister (best friend). There is so much of the issues that can come up in any young adult's life and there is an overall message about finding where you do fit in and who you fit in with. Again it is eye opening to see a bit about a life with Tourette syndrome. It is a wonderful book to share with young adults and perhaps use in a class. 



Our final book for tonight is Love is Both Wave and Particle by Paul Cody. 


The Book

This achingly beautiful novel considers how to measure love when it has the power to both save and destroy. Levon Grady and Samantha Vash are both students at an alternative high school for high-achieving but troubled teens. They have been chosen for a year-long project where they write their life stories and collect interviews from people who know them. The only rule is 100% confidentiality—they will share their work only with each other. What happens will transform their lives.Told from the perspectives of Levon, Sam, and all the people who know them best, this is a love story infused with science and the exploration of identity. In Love Is Both Wave and Particle, Paul Cody looks at how love behaves in different situations, and how it can shed light on even the darkest heart.

My Review


This book takes a look at the life of troubled teens and love. It flips through first hand accounts of Sam and Levon and the people who know them. At first I found it a bit confusing to follow. Each chapter is someone else's story and then Sam and Levon have chapters throughout them all. Each chapter gives the reader a glimpse of Sam or Levon or their lives. It is interesting to see how they have become the people they are and into an alternative high school. Each person's story shares a bit more and it is almost like the reader is gathering clues to understand these two teenagers and who they really are. 

Although not my favorite young adult novel it does shed light on the troubles our teens may be having as well as how love can affect us. It is worth a read and see how it relates to your own life.