cover image Somebody Up There Hates You

Somebody Up There Hates You

Hollis Seamon. Algonquin Young Readers, $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61620-260-6

Dying’s lousy at any age, but it’s even worse if, like Richie Casey, you’re 17. But even in hospice, a lot can happen in a short time, as Richie finds out. Indeed, an almost amazing amount: Richie’s uncle takes him out for a night of partying; girls start paying attention to him (and not just Sylvie, the 15-year-old across the hall); there are pranks and fistfights; and Richie gets a chance to be a normal teenager—or as normal as possible, given that he’s surrounded by nurses, never knows how he’ll feel next, and the annoying harpist in the lobby just keeps playing. In her YA debut, adult author Seamon balances the grim reality of teenagers with terminal cancer with the fact that, cancer or not, they’re still teens. Initially, Richie comes across as almost manic, but once readers settle deeper into the story, they will see Richie and Sylvie for who they are and understand that being near death doesn’t mean abandoning hope for the life that remains. Ages 14–up. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Sept.)