Author: Megan Bostic
Published: January 17, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge, 2012 Completely Contemp Challenge, 2012 Standalone Challenge
Summary: Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.
Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.
But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.
Review: I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately it just didn't do it for me.
Obviously from the title and summary I knew Austin was sick and dying, but there was nothing even mentioned about it until about half way through the book. It started right in the middle of the action. The very first page was Austin and Kaylee going somewhere to talk to someone about something that Austin wanted to take meaning from.
I liked that Austin was making the most of his final days. He was talking to people about things that were either bothering them or him and he was there to help them. But some of his friends problems seemed a bit unrealistic. I didn't like how some of his friends' problems were instantly resolved and everyone was happy again and others never had a resolution to them. I thought it left the story unfinished.
I could tell that Austin and Kaylee were great friends, but they just seemed like such flat characters to me. I couldn't connect to them even when they were at their most emotionally vulnerable.
Never Eighteen was a great concept and I wish I had liked it more. Unfortunately some of the characters and events in the book didn't have enough life and reality in them for me.