Confessions of a Teenage Leper

Ashley Little. Penguin Teen Canada, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6261-4
Seventeen-year-old Abby Furlowe feels her life is just about to begin. She’s the beauty queen of her small Texas town and plans to land a cheerleading scholarship to the college of her choice to pursue modeling, acting, and fame. But Abby’s not very nice. Then, what begins with a rash turns into numb feet, followed by a cheerleading accident that puts her in a coma for 16 days. She is finally diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, and it’s the end of the world as she knows it. Abby’s harsh voice is riddled with dark humor, making for an effective first-person narrative that conveys palpable anger, shame, resentment, and sadness as she’s faced with her disintegrating health and friends who desert her because they’re as shallow as she has been. Little (Niagara Motel) pulls no punches in describing the agony of living with a chronic disease, and weaves in a subplot about Abby’s brother’s homosexuality and struggle with destructive behavior. When Abby is sent off to a facility in Baton Rouge, La., for treatment, she meets new friends who accept her as she reforms her identity into something more substantial, reflective, and kind. This unusual and inspiring story reminds readers that difficult circumstances can strengthen one’s character. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 09/25/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7352-6601-8
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