Friday, April 12, 2013

Anthem For Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

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Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson's extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson's future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

You know how there are just some people who can walk into a room and command attention? When they leave, you’re just left with such a fond impression of them? That’s Jackson Dawes, a teenager with this magnetic personality that draws in anyone within his vicinity. When Megan first arrives at the hospital and meets him, she’s not quite sure what to make of him.  At first she views him as sort of this inevitable annoyance who's always showing up to her room and talking endlessly about something or other. He’s also blunt about what she can expect during her stay. After a while, he becomes a calming influence. His vivid imagination and enigmatic personality keep all the kids on that floor optimistic and most importantly happy.

Anthem is told from Megan’s thirteen year-old point of view and it’s very innocent and straightforward. She starts off in denial about her cancer, then goes through the motions before accepting the reality of her situation. The uncertain outcomes of what she and her new friends are facing tug at your heart strings. I thought I’d have a very hard time with this book but honestly there are also plenty of moments to make you smile. Aside from her budding friendship with Jackson, I enjoyed Megan’s conversations with her grandfather who was a total riot. And the moments that are tough do make you teary-eyed but at the end, it’s a sweet story about having faith, being hopeful and living life to the fullest. 

In Anthem For Jackson Dawes, Celia Bryce has delivered a touching, heartfelt story that I highly recommend!

~ Bel

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