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Anthem for Jackson Dawes
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Anthem for Jackson Dawes

4.0 1
by Celia Bryce

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When Megan arrives on the cancer ward for her first treatment, she's frustrated to be on the pediatric unit. There's only one other teen there: Jackson Dawes. He's cute, rebellious . . . and obnoxiously charming. Megan can't stand the way he meets his illness with such positive energy. But when her own friends are scared off by her illness, Megan finds she


When Megan arrives on the cancer ward for her first treatment, she's frustrated to be on the pediatric unit. There's only one other teen there: Jackson Dawes. He's cute, rebellious . . . and obnoxiously charming. Megan can't stand the way he meets his illness with such positive energy. But when her own friends are scared off by her illness, Megan finds she doesn't really mind Jackson's playful antics. As they begin the tentative stirrings of first love, they also start the most aggressive round of treatments on their tumors. Can the power of first love overcome the heartbreak of cancer?

Fans of Lurlene McDaniel will flock to this emotional debut.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After 13-year-old Megan Bright is diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, she’s prescribed chemotherapy followed by an operation. Megan is determined to have everything remain as normal as possible during her time in the hospital; her chief concerns are losing her spot on the soccer team and possibly her hair. While stuck in the pediatric wing of the hospital (much to her annoyance), Megan gets closer to the only other teenager there—mischievous, dashing Jackson Dawes—and begins to acknowledge the emotions she’s been keeping buried. Initially, Jackson rubs her the wrong way, but his positivity and determined interest in Megan teach her about optimism and taking control of what she can. Megan’s developing relationships with Jackson and a six-year-old patient named Kipper lend emotional gravity to British author Bryce’s debut. It’s a quiet story, but one that effectively portrays the sudden distance from one’s own life that disease and tragedy can create. “It was like being stuck between two worlds,” Megan reflects, “not knowing how to get back, not knowing which one to choose. Not wanting either.” Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
All Megan wants is to be normal. She wants to hang with her friends, be the only girl on the football team, and live her life cancer-free without the benefit of radiation or chemotherapy. Instead, at nearly fourteen years of age, she is stuck in the kiddie ward with no one close to her age. Except Jackson. Jackson with the annoying questions and the even more annoying good looks. Jackson with his playfulness and his innate ability to stir up trouble. She does not want anything to do with him and his positive energy...until she does. Can love change the outcome of their illnesses? Hard to put down, this sweet novel will pull the reader's heartstrings. Bryce has successfully gotten into the minds of each of her characters. Is the novel believable? Without a doubt. Told from Megan's point of view, teenager girls especially will discover how she navigates the rocky path of illness, then recovery—all because of Jackson. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—When 13-year-old Megan Bright meets Jackson Dawes on the pediatric cancer ward, she doesn't immediately appreciate his confidence and outgoing nature. However, there is something irresistible about him-his energy and good humor bring smiles to the faces of many of the younger patients. Jackson has struggled with cancer for a while, and as the only other teenager on the ward, he is there for Megan, helping her navigate the emotional and physical trauma that comes with illness. Between chemotherapy treatments, both teens return home; however, resuming normal life is difficult for Megan. She elects not to share her feelings with her best friend or her parents. She misses having someone who understands exactly what she is experiencing. As she struggles with the inherent unfairness that some people live long healthy lives while others do not, she gains comfort and strength from the memories of her friendship with Jackson. Sensitive and honest, this novel addresses meaningful questions concerning mortality and soul searching, and its content is appropriate for younger teens.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A movingly told British import about a teen girl with cancer treads some familiar ground. When Megan arrives at a children's hospital to receive her first round of chemotherapy, she immediately meets Jackson Dawes. The only other teenager in the hospital wing, Jackson is quirky, mischievous, charismatic and great with children. He immediately insinuates himself into Megan's life by popping into her hospital room. His company at first irritates, then delights her. As Megan's illness begins to distance her from her school friends, she finds comfort and companionship in the cancer ward's kind nurses and lovable children. She finds it especially in Jackson, who comforts her with Jamaican storytelling and helps cut her hair when it starts to fall out. The third-person narrative voice is evocative and observant, and Megan's changing relationships with friends, family and fellow sufferers are compelling. It is difficult, however, to read a contemporary teen cancer story without recalling John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, which masterfully dismantled cancer-related clichés. Here, many of the tropes Green addressed are left unexamined: A noble Cancer Kid remains full of life until the very end; a death is made easier by platitudes and the knowledge that the dead person's family has contributed to other children's fight against the disease. Sentimental but uncritical. (Fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

CELIA BRYCE teaches creative writing, writes for the stage and radio, performs in schools, and also fronts a country rock band called The Katy Freeway. Anthem for Jackson Dawes is her first novel. She lives in the United Kingdom.

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Anthem for Jackson Dawes 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
   Anthem for Jackson Dawes broke my heart. It's bittersweet and took me on a roller coaster of emotions.     Cancer. It doesn't discriminate, and it is most cruel when it attacks ones we love. Or little ones. And in this story Megan finds herself in the pediatric oncology floor of the hospital and hearing her desribe the babies and toddlers crying, in pain and getting treatments effected me on a whole other level as a mom. But I really felt for Megan as well. She is not a whiny or pitiful narrator, and sure she has moments of why me and this sucks, but that just makes it realistic. She is strong and brave and deals with things as they come.     Then there is Jackson. He is a trouble maker, but maybe mischief is a better word? Nothing he does is to hurt others, it is all about adventure for him, and taking his and the other patients' minds off of the horridness that is happening to them. I loved his charisma that came through in the story and how he always had something to offer to others even when he himself is in so much pain dealing with the treatments and cancer himself.     Megan and Jackson's friendship that hints at more, a budding relationship is slow and I loved every second of it. I just wish there would have been more. I wished that Ms. Dawes had given us more insight into why it developed into more, given us a few more scenes before breaking our hearts. Is it just because they are the same age? The oldest on the floor? Because they both have cancer and understand what the other is feeling? It is okay if that is all, but the pages hint at more of a connection and I long to have seen that.      The secondary characters were really well done. Little Kipper had such heart and spunk. I love how she just showed up and was so trusting of the older kids. She didn't say a whole lot, but I grew to really care about her. Also, the nurse Siobhan and Sister Brewster (who I could never figure out if she was another nurse, or a chaplain type person since she was more strict with trying to keep Jackson from wandering). Both of them I applaud. I know they are fictional characters, but there are women just like them that see so many kids hurting, in pain, and dealing with the horrible disease. But they know what each patient needs--encouragement, a kick in the butt, coddling, etc, and they give.      The focus on the family is also nice. I liked how her mom was there for her. But I especially liked her relationship with her Grandad. It was all over the phone, but you could tell how much they care for another and I loved the character growth where Megan learned to respect and value his age and what that brings to the table.         My only complaint besides wanting more of Megan and Jackson is that the story jumps around a bit, and I wanted to have the filler, know what they were going through and how Megan came out of what she was dealing with stronger and a bit wiser.      This is such a sad book at times, but it is also sprinkled with laughter, light, hope and relationships.  Bottom Line: Emotional debut. Jackson stole my heart and Megan grew so much.