From the Publisher
"Every household with children should have access to this book. It answers more questions than I would have ever considered myself and it puts a perspective on the importance of how this disease changes everyone's life. ... It also reminds us that if we always consider each other and respect each other and work together, we can get through anything that life brings our way including cancer." - Let Life Happen
""My Parent Has Cancer And It Really Sucks honestly and openly tackles the questions, fears and emotions that many teenagers face after learning a parent has cancer. It offers sound and practical advice on how to keep communicating, handle stress, face friends, seek support, carry on as normally as possible at school and figure out cancer lingo, to name a few." - Nancy's Point" - Nancy's Point
"This accessible book has topics ranging from what to do when you first learn the news, to how to manage stress and friendships, to coping with a parent's dire prognosis. ... This is the book for librarians to recommend to students in this situation." - Library Media Connection
"For teens dealing with a parent's cancer and who might feel as though no one understands what they're going through ... This is the book for librarians to recommend to students in this situation." - Library Media Connection
"Drawing on their own experiences, the Silvers offer advice for finding solace in people who have been there and who have found ways to cope. ... [They] speak with an honesty that teens will identify and find comfort in." - Booklist
"Chock-full of information and advice ... the many voices offer a variety of perspectives." - Kirkus
"A comprehensive how-to-get-through-it guide that includes insight from dozens of medical professionals and 100 teens." - Staten Island Advance
"A first of its kind guide written especially for teenagers who have a parent fighting cancer." - Examiner.com
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This well-organized handbook aims to guide teens through the experience of having an ill parent. Offering "survival tips" from those who have experienced the ordeal firsthand and including "words of wisdom" from trained professionals, it provides honest, practical, and heartfelt advice. Short chapters include "Let's Talk: How to Keep Your Family Communication Lines Wide Open," "How Things Will Change During Cancer," "Dealing with Stress," "The Power (and the Limits) of Optimism and Faith," "Seeking Support," "Facing a Dire Prognosis," and "Losing a Parent to Cancer." Readers are reminded that "cancer doesn't follow rules" and can impact families of any background. The Silvers effectively provide guidance and insight for teens seeking the ability to cope so that "the new normal" (a term used to describe life after cancer) can be realized.—Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME
A guide for teens who have a parent with cancer is chock-full of information and advice but sometimes misses the mark. The authors, the husband and now-adult daughter of a woman who had cancer, include advice and personal experience from social workers, teens whose parents have or have had cancer, and adults who were teens when their parents were diagnosed. One chapter explicates common cancer terms; others offer advice for finding support, communicating with family and friends, and dealing with the loss of a parent. Although the many voices offer a variety of perspectives, the book assumes a middle-class, suburban readership: All families are assumed to have cars, and a chapter on "parentification" assumes that any teen taking on a parental role after a parent's diagnosis will be doing so for the first time. Gender-based assumptions seem more harmful than helpful (why separate the "Risky Business" chapter into stories about "Bad Boys" and "Bad Girls" when the behaviors described are all very similar?), and a few of the bits of helpful advice are downright baffling ("Don't spend [your time with a dying parent] down in the dumps. You don't want to have false hope. Hope is an important thing to have"). There are some helpful ideas and anecdotes here, but it's not for every teen. (Nonfiction. 12-18)
Read an Excerpt
From the Introduction:
We hope that the voices in this book create a community of support to give you strength as you deal with your parent's cancer. Because if you can learn from the 20/20 hindsight and mistakes of others who've been there, you'll be better prepared to handle the situations you will encounter.
A parent's cancer is uncharted territory, and the uncertainty about what's happening and what's next can be nerve-racking.
"Among the things I wish I was told with more clarity is: here's what your mom's going to be going through, here's what you need to do, what you need to be aware of..." said Aaron, who was a teen when his mom had breast cancer. This book doesn't have all the answers, but it will provide you with an idea of what might be going on-and how to get the information you need if your parents aren't good communicators.
One of the most important things we learned from interviewing so many teensand one of the themes of this guideis that everyone deals with their parent's cancer differently.
Some people cope just fine. Others have a very hard time.
A lot depends on the nature of the diagnosis. Is your parent facing a cancer that has a good treatment success rate? Or is the cancer a difficult one to treat?
Your reaction also depends on you. Personalities differ.
Some teens want lots and lots of information. Others want the bare minimum. Some worry a great deal. Others feel confident that everything will be okay. Some lose their focus at school and see grades slip. Others hyper-focus on keeping grades up.
Some want to talk about it all. Others don't. And that's okay.
One thing we can all agree on, though, is that cancer sucks.
For everyone involved. We hope this book will help you cope in the months and years ahead.
As hard as times may get, you will make it through. Take it from Bailee Richardson, who was twelve when her mom was diagnosed: "Stay strong. Everything's going to work itself out in the end. Don't ever let it get the best of you."
Finally, here are two rules for this book:
Rule 1: Teens, don't feel guilty. You have your own way of coping, and you don't have to behave like any other teen in this book.
Rule 2: Parents, do not use the book to make your teen talk if he or she doesn't want to talk.