Today’s blog is going to be a bit educational and also contain a traditional review. This book is a beautiful romantic story about life and what it means to live. TW: terminal illness, death, rebellious teens, and justly overprotective medical staff
Stella, Will, and Poe all have Cystic Fibrosis (CF) a genetic disorder with no cure. I’ll leave a link to a website about CF but, long story short is those with CF have bad lungs. They have breathing problems and a great deal of mucus that builds up in their lungs. Similar to when you have a flu or pneumonia…you cough stuff up. CFers have that feeling constantly. Sometimes the mucus is so thick, it is hard to cough it up, so there are treatments and therapies implemented to help get that gunk out. Persons with CF are also hit harder with respiratory issues. A cough may only last in a typical person for a few days…in a CF patient, a cough could land them in the hospital for a month. Now that we’ve got a little background on the disease, let’s talk about their care.
CFers are cared for, obviously, by the full staff of the hospital: doctors to prescribe, nurses to give meds, hospitality to bring food, but for them, their most important care (for their lungs) comes from Respiratory Therapists (RRT). RRTs are sort of similar to nurses in that we are healthcare workers, but all we RRTs focus on is a patient’s lungs and lung related things. I say “we” because I am studying to become an RRT. This semester was my first in a hospital setting and I had a few CF patients to care for during my shift and it truly is humbling. I was at the local Children’s Hospital™️ when I encountered the CFers and it really blew my mind how resilient these kids are. They are well aware that they have a terrible disease, but I’ve never seen someone so protective of a plate of bacon in my life. I’ve never seen kids so happy just to go on a walk around the hospital or to see their favorite RT coming in for treatment time. At the bottom of this review, I will leave a link to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. They have much more in depth information about CF and also ways one can help.
Now time for the actual book review. This book. Oh my Lord, this BOOK. I haven’t cried this much since Dobby died in HP 7. The last 60 pages or so absolutely tore me to PIECES. I’m gonna gather my emotions long enough to talk sass and trash, as always. If you want to avoid the spoilers, scroll on down to my closing remarks!
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Everything about this book was amazing. I loved that we got the dual perspective of one character who is serious about her treatment regiment and another character who can’t wait to turn 18 so he can stop treatment. Also, Poe is Latinx and LGBT+. I would have loved to see him in the story more because I feel like he would have added background and insight to Stella but alas, he was meant to be a secondary (maybe even tertiary?) human. Trash Honestly. Not much. I do wish we could have seen more of Poe (although he wasn’t the “star character”). He seemed like a good friend and it would have been nice to just see how he deals with CF. Also (not really trash) but my heeeeart. God I cried when (major spoiler thing) happened to (character) and also when (other big plot point thing) happens to (other character).
Overall This was an amazing work. I cried so hard, so many times. This semester of schooling has been one of growth and struggle and reading this book really spoke volumes to me. It told me that this is truly what I’m meant to do. I cannot wait to be “Barb” and service my own batch of CFers, always making sure to keep them five six feet apart. Rachel Lippincott has written a story full of emotion and, I’m sure she did her research, because this is very accurate to how some CFers live (just like with any other disease, there are different severities). All these characters are teenagers, kids really, living on borrowed time and feeling the weight of so many adult problems and griefs. I cried for the first time on page 6 or so and I kept going through to the end.
If you would like more information about Cystic Fibrosis or want to know ways to help, please visit http://www.cff.org. There is no cure for this disease currently, but with more funding and medical research, maybe we can find one.