Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Never Eighteen

Never Eighteen

4.3 26
by Megan Bostic

See All Formats & Editions

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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Bostic’s melodramatic debut novel, 17-year-old Austin Parker, who is dying from leukemia, embarks on an exhilarating weekend journey through the Seattle area with his best friend/crush, Kaylee. Austin is determined to visit everyone who has touched his life and dole out wakeup calls to those who aren’t living life to the fullest. He visits the mother of a friend who died, an ex-girlfriend in an abusive relationship, various family members, and others, interspersed with trips to a fair, a keg party, the Space Needle, and Mt. Rainier. The brief episodes unfold at warp speed, weakening their believability and impact; despite the painful circumstances in their lives, Austin’s acquaintances open up to him immediately during his surprise visits in dramatic, expository conversations (“The old Allie died that day, on the sticker bushes, right along with her virginity and her self-respect,” says a friend who was raped). Sensitive, selfless, and nonthreatening, Austin comes across more as a wise-beyond-his-years guru than an authentic teen—teenage girls will shed tears over his inevitable death, but male readers will be hard pressed to identify with him. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"Bostic writes this graceful, affecting tale without pretension...Perhaps it's because of that simplicity that the story concludes with such a powerful emotional punch." --Kirkus "It is easy to connect with Austin because his journey is honorable.....Bostic’s narrative is concise, chapters are short, and the story never lags. Her story is sad, but it is real and pulls no punches."--VOYA
VOYA - Jonatha Basye
What would you do if you knew you were dying? Austin Parker is going to die—well before his eighteenth birthday—and he is on a mission. Austin wants to complete his bucket list before his body surrenders to the cancer growing inside him. He wants to touch the lives of those around him and to help them remember to keep living. So many of his friends have gotten lost along the way; even his parents have forgotten what it means to really live. Leukemia may be destroying his body, but his will is strong. Austin enlists his most trusted friend, Kaylee, to help him on his journey. He has many things to tell her before it is too late. This reviewer was impressed with this first offering from Bostic. Her story is simple yet resonates with the reader. It is easy to connect with Austin because his journey is honorable. He is not trying to "fix" the people in his life; instead he attempts to open their eyes to the reality of each individual situation. Bostic's narrative is concise, chapters are short, and the story never lags. Her story is sad, like so many others in today's world of YA literature, but it is real and pulls no punches. Put this in the hands of teens who are drawn to contemporary YA fiction. They are the ones who will enjoy this novel the most. Reviewer: Jonatha Basye
Kirkus Reviews
A boy decides he wants to live the last weeks of his life helping others get their own lives into better shape. Unless they read the back cover of the book, readers won't learn until late in the story that 17-year-old Austin is dying of leukemia. Meanwhile, it becomes increasingly clear that Austin, thin and weak, has embarked on some kind of mission. Because he never got his driver's license, he enlists best friend Kaylee to drive him around the Seattle area as he meets with people whom he knows have problems. While Kaylee waits in the car, Austin tries to talk them into making better decisions in their lives. He also treats Kaylee to some Seattle sights and an expensive dinner. Underneath it all, however, Austin looks for the courage to tell Kaylee that he loves her as more than a friend. But will he have time? Bostic writes this graceful, affecting tale without pretension, simply by focusing on Austin himself. She avoids the maudlin, merely writing a boy who knows what he wants and showing his family and his friends as they move toward the final scenes. Perhaps it's because of that simplicity that the story concludes with such a powerful emotional punch. There won't be many dry eyes at the end of this extremely affecting story. (Fiction. 12-17)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Austin Parker knows he will not live to see his 18th birthday. Before leukemia can take him from his family and friends, he plans a long weekend with his best friend, Kaylee. The two embark on a mission to meet with friends and family members, hoping Austin can leave them some advice on how to live. Bostic paints the teen as mature for his age, but he is still a well-drawn and realistic character. However, it's a little difficult to believe that the friends and family members he visits have all suffered in extreme ways. Austin meets with, among many others, an ex-girlfriend who is being physically abused, a girl who has been raped, a friend who is a closeted homosexual, a kid he used to bully, and his dad who has yet to divorce his mom. Reading this list might give the impression that the book is a major downer, but it's actually uplifting. Austin and Kaylee are strong, well-crafted characters who care deeply for one another and those around them. Somehow, even given the plethora of problems faced in this book, it works.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

chapter one

I had the dream again. The one where I’m running. I don’t know what from or where to, but I’m scared—terrified, really. I wake, shooting up, drenched in sweat. Jumping out of bed, I immediately head to my computer.

I need to get some things done this weekend, and I’m running out of time. God, I hope Kaylee can help. What if she asks what I’m doing? I can’t tell her, can I? No. She’d try to stop me, I’m sure of it. Shit, I hope she doesn’t have to work. I should have checked. Without her Mustang, I may not be able to do this, and I want to, I need to. Otherwise, things may just continue as they always have: painful, motionless. Like treading water. You stay afloat, but you never really get anywhere. A flash, a flicker of life, that’s all I want. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

I sit at the computer and stare at the monitor, wondering where to begin. I need to make a list. It’s hard, but soon it all comes rushing to me—people, places, things. Over and over I think of Kaylee. I want her to be there. Need her to be beside me through all of it.

I type until my thoughts die down, come to a stop. I hit print, grab the list, and shove it into the pocket of my jacket, hanging on my closet door. I look in the mirror. I’ve changed so much in the last year, physically, emotionally, mentally. I may be smaller now, but my heart and mind are stronger.

These last few months I’ve come to realize that life doesn’t wait. If we stand still it passes us by, and by the time we understand that, it may be too late. The people I see this weekend—I hope they’re okay with this. I want them to take hold of it and not let go. I hope they at least listen. If they don’t, it will kill me.

I grab a shoebox that’s been sitting in my closet. It held the new pair of green Converse high-tops my mom bought me before the school year started. Cool shoes. I take the lid off the box and put it on my bed. I pack the box with books, CDs, pictures, my poetry notebook, things that are important to me. I won’t have everything I need until Sunday night. On Monday, it goes to Kaylee’s for safekeeping.

It’s late, and I have a full weekend ahead of me. I put the lid back on the shoebox, and place it on the top shelf of my closet. Out of sight. There’s no need for my mom to find it. She wouldn’t understand.

I shut off the light and climb back into bed. My body’s tired, but my mind keeps working, churning. I’m anxious, nervous, thinking of what to say, what to do. Sleep comes with difficulty, but in the end, it still comes.

Meet the Author

Megan Bostic lives in Tacoma, Washington. This is her first book for teens.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Never Eighteen 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Kimmiepoppins More than 1 year ago
This was the very last book I read in 2011 and it seems to me that it was supposed to be that way. My dad passed away in 2005 during the early morning hours of New Year's Day. Today it is New Year's Eve--seven years later. I'm not sure you ever get over losing a parent or a child, but the way that I've tried to make sense of my personally horrific loss, has been to make my life matter. In honor of my father, I've chosen to live with courage and hope. The truth is that I would not be a debut author if my father died. So bitter sweet. As I'm writing this review, I'm terrified that I won't be able to do it justice, that I'll be unable to express just how much it moved me. This book is beautiful. It speaks softly, but resonates deeply. It has everything that a real life has...love, shame, mistakes, friendship, hate, hope, loss, fear, regret, laughter and belief. It has the belief that it is never too late to want more from your life--even when life is short. I found a connection with every single character in this book--saw myself in bits and pieces of every human interaction, but I loved Kaylee and Austin. They will haunt me--I'll think about them often. This is one of those books that doesn't feel like a story. It feels like it was real. I know them now and they are a part of me and I'm better for having had them in my life. Megan Bostic is my fellow debut author at the Class of 2k12 and the Apocalypsies, but I urge you to champion this book. My love and admiration for it have nothing to do with my connection to her. This is a book that matters. This is a book that I believe in. I would be extremely grateful if, when you read this book, you'll stop by and share your thoughts on it with me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is inspiring, loving, sadening, emotional, and a story of letting go. I know that sounds like all sad and emotional, BUT, you must read this for it's MORALS!!!!! I mean this guy is dying and he does these amazing things for nothing in return but that he makes an impact in that persons life. Although quite short, this story demonstates how people in this world can be decent. THIS IS MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE(Even passing The Hunger Games)
JoanneLevy More than 1 year ago
I've read several books kind of like this one, where the reader knows, as does the main character, that he or she isn't going to make it: Jenny Downham's Before I Die and Chris Crutcher's Deadline to name two, and I think it's the 'what am I going to do in the short time I have left?' that makes them so poignant and popular. I'm normally not the kind of person who goes out of her way to pick up what is sure to be a tear-jerker, but I really enjoyed Austin's "road trip of courage and closure", as I like to call it. Austin knows he's dying and he needs to get his affairs in order and that means saying what he needs to say to the people in his life, even if they don't want to hear it, won't change anything or take his advice. It's all we can do, though, live our lives the best way we know how and hope that we made an impact the way Austin and his legacy made an impact on the people in his life. I do wish that I was more familiar with the geography of this book's setting and how Austin visits his favorite places, but as it was, these scenes were well drawn and evocative. I think fans of the two books I mention above will enjoy (or at least sob throughout) this one as well.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
never eighteen hits the ground running - and right from the start, despite waking up from that recurring dream, Austin takes off to accomplish his to-do list of people to see, places to go, truths to voice that makes time feel even shorter and more precious to hold. I got a little impatient with never eighteen since the reason for Austin's to-do list does not become clear until the end. It gets a little obvious (and I suppose the summary does hint at it), but it is almost as if everyone was in denial and no one said it outright - including myself. I would have expected Austin to have mentioned it earlier on, especially since he was so bent on seeing everyone before he goes. I can see how Austin desires closure for himself and everyone in his life, but it is hard to determine whether he makes an impact on everyone he visits. Some of the people seem pretty random - he knows them, but no longer that well, so his interest in their well-being - while compassionate - is taken with a grain of salt. Other people like his separated parents make more sense - and ends on a good note. Well-written and thoughtful, never eighteen follows a teen who wants to make the most of his life and leave a lasting impression on people he values.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh and cry. It's a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I finshed it in a one day and i almost started crying. Its so beautifully written and i just loved it. Definitly recomened ^-^
LyndaMH More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to see how small this book was when it arrived in the mail. But, boy , don’t be fooled. It packs a punch. I really loved Austin as a main character. Considering the title, I thought I may know what was going to happen, and the closer I got to the end, the more I dreaded it—in a good way, though. This book is an emotion-packed one—quite poignant. Grab a box of tissues before settling in with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it right after the fault in our stars!!! Anyone know anymore like these?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book you dont want to put down,very touching and sad but also a favorite i would reccomend !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book were you dont want to put down
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
Tears were falling down my face as I read this book. I loved the whole concept of it. It gave my heart and eyes a whole new outlook on life. That we only have one life to live. And its not who you know or what you done. It's how you lived it. If you have just a few months to live what would you do? I find myself asking this question and the first thing that always comes in to my mind is forgiveness. I would make amends with everyone I wronged. I would do my best to set things right again, no matter what the cost. Austin did just that. With a few months left, Austin sets out to make things right. His journey of his life and what went wrong in it, Austin just wants everything to be okay for when he leaves. Now, the people Austin visited all struggled in life themselves. He ask small favors to call the person, or just to say I'm sorry. Austin's courageous visit to each person set my heart on path that I never been on. Watching Austin used his last days to help others is simple amazing. Austin has come to terms with what is happening in his body and to see how selfless he is in his actions made me fall in love with him. And now the part that really made the water works flow. All this time, Austin has been in love. He has loved her from afar and never said a word. What Austins leaves behind is so much more than a memory but a legacy. Austin himself changes everyones point of view and to see them come around because of what Austin did made my heart cry out. The final letter that Austin left not only made me cry harder, but had me laughing and smiling. By the end of the book, I knew Austin. To see him go with his last wishes will only be right for him. Such an amazing and compelling story, Ms. Bostic's writing leaves no eyes dry. At the end of the book, with Austin's last line, I knew what I had to do. Open the book again and start from page one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book in one sitting , couldnt put it down -it was funny sad and just a really good book i checked to see if she wrote any more books, this is her 1st and i will be watchin g for her next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its really good it might be a huge sucess i can already tell kinda like the fault in our stars
daaangnicole_ More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a good book overall . It was a short read , but has a pretty good plot .  Austin's concept of making closure was understandable and i loved all the characters , but sometimes he hardly made any impact with them and it was all a little random . The romance part of the book was a little cliche . Boy in love with his childhood best friend . Typical , but it was cute nonetheless. The ending letter was hilarious ,  a little sad . I didn't find this one to be a full on tear-jerker though . This book is good , I personally wouldn't read it twice but i think other people would definitely enjoy it more . 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi sis
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SpRead this around! Go on your facebook, tumblr, twitter, instagram, youtube, whatever. But we need to show everyone this beautiful book guise! #NeverEighteenTop18 POST PHOTOS POST EXCERPTS POST DIRECT LINKS TO A SAMPLE FRM AMAZON? USE YOUR BRAINS PEOPLE. If you actually love this book as much as you say you do, you'll do this. For ... you , for us never eighteen lovers , for the world ..
VeraciousRose More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of NEVER EIGHTEEN (Graphia/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - 1/16/12) and as soon as I was finished with this beautifully written novel, I immediately shared it (and a box of tissues) with my favorite middle school librarian. Why the tissues? Because it says, right there on the back of the book, that Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. And even though I knew this, I couldn't help but hope that author Megan Bostic was only kidding and somehow, Austin is going to pull through. We travel with Austin on his journey and learn that the only thing worse than dying young is realizing you could have made a difference in this world but you didn't try. This is a book for people who "get it", who understand that there is more to YA books than hot guys with six-pack abs, high fashion and adventure. It's a book for anyone who has ever lost someone they love, and for those who realize that someday, everyone will experience that terrible pain. It's a book for those who know that hope floats and life is what we make it. This book belongs in every school and public library, but I recommend you buy your own copy because you'll want to read it over again.
aquamarinedream More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved it. Words cannot describe. I started and finished it the same day, and I finished it during my english class's free reading period and it took everything I had not to break down crying in that library. You'll absolutely absolutely love it. I promise.
BookPortrait More than 1 year ago
Really 4.5 stars I knew this book would be moving and emotional just from the synopsis, and it certainly was. In Never Eighteen, Megan Bostic takes the reader on a physical and emotional journey right along with Austin, leaving us, like those he visited, changed at its conclusion. Austin is sure that he won't live to see his eighteenth birthday because of the cancer. However, he also knows that many of the people around him have virtually stopped living even though they still have life. And so Austin decides that, before he dies, he wants to help others redirect their lives...he wants them to truly live even though he can't. Austin recruits Kaylee, his best friend, to be his chauffeur for the weekend, and they even visit a variety of people and even some places together. Somehow, during the course of the weekend, Austin's visits to say goodbye turn into so much more than that. It becomes a journey for everyone involved...and every journey begins with a single step... Let me just say: Wow. For a book that is on the short side, Never Eighteen sure packs a LOT of emotion. With the exception of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, I don't remember the last time my heart broke for so many characters in a single book. Every stop on Austin's journey yielded a new story for him or for his friend, stories that were by turns painful, touching, and beautiful. In addition to the depth of this book, I loved the way in which it was told. The writing was a unique blend of conversation, quasi-stream of consciousness, and narrative, and I truly felt everything that Austin did. Everything flowed well together, even the moments that were difficult or awkward. And yes, I will admit that I did have tears in my eyes at the end of this book...and I know that I wasn't the only one. The only thing I did want from this book was more. I would love to know how Austin's visits affected everyone in the long run. Even without that, I've found myself thinking about this book long after it was over. Never Eighteen has a powerful message and one that I think readers of all ages can appreciate. Never Eighteen is a compelling debut by Megan Bostic, one that is full of more poignant moments than many books I've read. I cannot wait to see what this author writes next!
livelife More than 1 year ago
Austin Parker cannot fix his own problems, as they are out of his hands, but he is on a mission to fix everyone else's. Not having the chance to live his own life the way he'd like to Austin is determined to make sure the people he's crossed paths with in life know how lucky they are to have a future and live it to the fullest. I admire Austin in his journey of closure, he wants to do something with his short life and feels this approach is his best chance. It was refreshing that even with his efforts things don't always go as he plans, and that's okay. Megan Bostic has done a great job creating a book with so much feeling in it, for not only Austin and his struggles but for everyone in the story. She tackles many issues in the book, while most are only briefly discussed, they make room for a lot of emotion and consideration. Never Eighteen is another inspirational book about struggling with an illness that I could never imagine having to face. Her characters, especially Austin and Kaylee, are strong ones with big hearts. Their friendship is as close to perfect as any, they joke and kid but both really love each other. The book is fast paced, and a quick read. I think if the story was longer and maybe a little more detailed I could have really felt the pain and happiness expressed in the pages. I just felt like I flew through the pages and got to the end, and Austin is an admirable guy, but I felt disconnected from him even after just finishing the book, he was just, while relatable and like the boy next door, a hard to reach character. I would describe trying to connect with him as watching a TV show about someone watching a TV show and trying to understand what the characters in the show are watching on their set. I liked Never Eighteen, it's a wonderful book about many tough issues that are everyday life for some. Austin's outlook on life and how he wants to be remembered is endearing and I'm so glad I got to read this book about his journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago