By Lara Avery
Poppy/Little, Brown and Company, 2016, 357 pages, Young Adult Fiction
Eighteen-year-old Sammie has plans for the future. As soon as she graduates from high school she’s going to move out of her small town and head to NYU and law school, after which she dreams of being a human rights lawyer. But when she’s diagnosed with Nieman-Pick Type C, a rare genetic disorder that breaks down both the memory and the body, Sammie has to come to terms with the fact that the only time she has is now.
Lara Avery made a smart decision in telling this story through a series of journal entries. The true heartbreak of Sammie’s disease is portrayed as she shifts from someone smart enough to be school valedictorian and debate team champion to someone who can’t remember the names of her loved ones. But being forced to accept her body’s limitations makes Sammie take risks and learn to appreciate the things she has now. While I’m not a general fan of angst-ridden YA or (hints of) love triangles, Avery handles Sammie’s descent into the disease with style and class and some beautiful moments. If you love books like The Fault in Our Stars, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, or If I Stay, this book is for you.