Chris Crutcher’s novel Deadline really spoke to me this last week. It’s about a boy named Ben, who is diagnosed with a rare blood disease. Rather than seeking treatment, he decides to take this as his opportunity to live life to the fullest and do the things he had always wanted to do. He makes it a point to keep his disease secret for as long as he could.
This novel really explores death on multiple different levels. And it hit me hard this week as I look back on my own experiences with teenage death, because it was just two years ago today that my childhood best friend/neighbor died due to a fatal collision on the road (which made me ball my eye balls out throughout the entire novel). Deadlines are real. And that’s what Chris Cruthcher explores. No one really knows when our deadlines are, but Crutcher writes in away that makes us want to leave an impact on the people we’ll leave behind after our time is up. I would recommend this book, especially to young adults.
The famous young adult novelist Laurie Halse Anderson did not disappoint me in her novel Speak. She took on the challenge of writing about the difficult topic of rape. Melinda, the main character, is raped by Andy Evans, but it takes her a long time before she can finally admit it to herself what happened. She goes through the worst pains, until towards the end of the novel when she finally speaks and comes to terms with what happened.
I think this is a rather important novel for young adults to read and I definitely want to recommend it for you to read, too. This is a topic that is easily swept under the rug because no one really wants to talk about it. It’s a novel that we can read to understand the victim, and understand rape culture. I found myself crying in a couple of different places, (again, I’m an extremely emotional person) but it’s just real stuff. It really talks about the human condition in a way we sometimes don’t talk about it.