First Lines: When Campbell’s father died, he left her $1,262.56 — as much as he’d been able to sock away during his twenty-year gig as a fire dancer for the “Spirit of Aloha” show at Disney’s Polynesian Hotel. Coincidentally, that was exactly how much her fat uncle Gus was asking for his 1998 Volkswagen Beetle in Vapor, the only color worth having if you wanted to have a VW Beetle.
Dear Nerdfighteria (if you understand this reference, pretend I have just given you a high-five), this book is very much like John Green’s The Fault in our Stars. We’ll cover this a little more in depth in a moment.
Cancer has ruled Campbell’s life for the last five years. Ironic, really, since she grew up in the most magical of all places: Disney World. You’d think a little magic would have rubbed off on her and kept her from getting cancer in the first place. But it is what it is and Cam has learned to deal. She’s even made a Flamingo List, full of things she wants to do before she dies. Nowhere on that list will you find “Moving to Promise, Maine,” which is exactly what her mom wants to do. Cam isn’t getting any better in Florida anymore and there really aren’t any treatments left to try until they hear about Promise. It’s a weird little town where the sunsets seem to last for hours and mysterious letters keep arriving for Cam. There’s also the cute Asher, who seems to appear out of nowhere just when Cam needs him. Cam knows the end is coming, and she only has this summer left to live a lifetime.
If you’ve read TFIOS, you’ll see similarities to this. Both are cancer stories where the main characters are snarky to the point of acidity who have given up on having a normal life. Cam has determined that cancer is really her only defining quality anymore, much like Hazel did. And both of them learn they’re wrong.
This was a really quirky story. I kind of figured it would be, given what I had heard of it, but this almost took quirky to a whole new level. The sad thing is I can’t even go into detail because it will give away great parts of the story! Just take it from me then. I can say that Cam makes some pretty amazing connections between her life and movies she’s seen, like comparing a cashier at Whole Foods to Rolf from The Sound of Music. That was just beautiful in its quirkiness.
I was surprised that I actually got kind of fed up with Cam’s attitude. Normally I’m all for the snarky, sarcastic lead. And for about half the book, I was enjoying it. It was after they got to Promise and got settled that I started getting mad at Cam. All of this awesome stuff was happening around her and she just didn’t care to even acknowledge it’s awesomeness.
It was a very funny book and one that made me cry. I guess you kind of expect that from cancer books, huh? They’ve usually given up on life, so they have a very different perspective on things and hey, it’s cancer. You’re gonna cry at some point.
I guess I should also mention that if you get easily offended, you might want to hold this book at arm’s length. I’ve read other reviews where people were offended by things that I thought were just normal teenage behavior and ideas. Whatever. I thought it was just fine.