cover image The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

Shaun David Hutchinson, illus. by Christine Larsen. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0310-8

In this haunting tale of grief and recovery, 17-year-old Andrew Brawley lives like a ghost in the sprawling wings of Roanoke General Hospital, working in the cafeteria, visiting patients, and borrowing what he needs to get by. When he’s not trying to play matchmaker for his friends Lexi and Trevor—both battling cancer—he’s talking to nurses or working on his comic, Patient F, all while avoiding the tragic circumstances that took his family and left him behind. When Rusty, a boy badly burned by homophobic bullies, enters the hospital, Drew finds the courage to reach out, find love, and confront his deep-rooted guilt and confusion. Hutchinson (fml) takes some liberties with Drew’s unusual day-to-day circumstances, but spins an engrossing story, with Drew’s perceptions lending it an almost surreal, supernatural quality (such as his seeing Death around the hospital and fearing that she’s come for him). The narrative is further developed by violent excerpts from Patient F, skillfully drawn by Larsen, through which Drew tries to exorcise his demons. Ages 14–up. Author’s agent: Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan.)