Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Somebody Up There Hates You
by Hollis Seamon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Somebody Up There Hates You is a fresh, deeply-felt take on the story of two teens with cancer who are in the hospice unit where people go to spend their final days. A range of emotion--from humor to desperation and sadness--make this a well-woven story of humanity.

I did think that there was too much emphasis put on the adolescent-hormone driven aspect of the novel. Sure, it's told from a teenage boy's point of view, but that agenda at times overshadows the plot and characters. Note that some content is not appropriate for all readers.

While the book was firmly grounded in a hospice situation, with the experiences of the author giving real weight to the cancer-stricken teens, there was also a somewhat fantastical element to the book. Richard, with his king persona, a few improbable escapes and adventures away from the hospice, and a few well-placed characters such as the harpist and a few of the other dying members of the hospice unit come together to give the story an almost mythical feel. This added dimension to the story makes a huge difference, and while adding to the original voices of the characters, also makes this seemingly familiar story about teens and cancer different from others that it might be compared to: such as, The Fault in Our Stars.

One of the best moments in the book that also conveys a mythical sense is the last scene in the book. It's full of significance and otherworldliness, and does an incredible job of carrying those elements, and the characters, to the end. That scene was definitely a stand-out part of the book.

An advanced copy was provided by the publisher. 

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