Description: This book lives up to its title. For the most part it is one young woman's emotional journey with cancer. The author reaches out by sharing her personal experience as well as the experiences of others diagnosed with cancer as a teenager.
Purpose: The objective is to help teens and their families to recognize that they are not alone and that yes, they can survive! Some of the author's feelings may be shared by others while some may not, but she is a valid and credible author because she is "real." She seeks to help others by providing this information.
Audience: The primary target is obviously adolescents with cancer. Others include their families, friends, teachers, and healthcare professionals who can benefit by reading the book too. The information provided may help them to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a teen with cancer. That in turn will hopefully result in making the experience better for everybody.
Features: The author begins by giving a summary of her own story. The second chapter is actually akin to a detailed glossary describing common childhood cancers, procedures, and treatment modalities. The author refers to care providers as the "Treaters," but only refers to oncologists, social workers, and psychologists. She neglects to mention nurses or child life specialists who also impact the lives of children with cancer. There are chapters dedicated to issues that strongly affect adolescents such as hair loss, school, and the "why me?" syndrome. A good portion of the book involves other teens' expressions of their experience. The author includes a wide variety of people, some who were young at diagnosis, but are now teenagers; as well as others who were diagnosed as teens and are now adults. Many different diagnoses of childhood cancer are included.
Assessment: It took a lot of courage for the author to write this book. It is well-organized and eloquently written. I enjoyed reading through it and found my emotions paralleling what I read. I believe many people will be glad they read it. Most teens should find it a source of strength.