Release Date: 3rd January 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
When Megan Bright arrives in hospital for her first cancer treatment, there is only one other teenager there – Jackson Dawes. He is cute, rebellious...and infuriating. Even so, Megan finds herself slowly and surely drawn to him.
But so is everybody. Jackson is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need some of his extraordinary optimism as they face the difficult times ahead.
An uplifting story of bravery, loss and love against the odds.
I hadn't heard much about Anthem for Jackson Dawes before reading it, but I was still a little disappointed with it. It didn't pack the emotional punch that I wanted and expected.
I think this was mostly due to my lack of a connection to either Megan or Jackson. Even though I really liked Jackson and his interactions with Megan were the highlights of the novel for me there just wasn't much substance to hang on to. Megan didn't seem to grow or progress in any way and I honestly can’t say that I know her character. She also seemed very selfish to me. Obviously as a thirteen year old girl with cancer, she’s entitled to some selfish moments, but it just jumped out at me as too much and there weren’t enough facets to her character for me to move past it.
However I felt about the characters I did love a few elements of Celia Bryce’s prose. I really liked the subtleties of Jackson and Megan’s illnesses were shown in tiredness, not making a joke, the little things. I’d already figured that there would be a death and whose it would be, but these hints made it real. It gave it significance and a foreboding which I loved. Strangely, I never feared for the other character; I never considered that she wouldn't make it through.
There is a lot of focus on YA where the main character has cancer at the moment and with spectacular ones like The Fault in Our Stars and Before I Die, Celia Bryce’s debut had a high bar to meet and for me, it didn't.
For my 2013 Contemporary YA Challenge, 2013 British Books Challenge and 2013 Debut Author Reading Challenge.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy for review.