Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes
Title: Never Eighteen
Author: Megan Bostic
(Taken from Amazon.com)
Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life. Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go. But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.
Sounds like a depressing but inspirational piece, no? Would you be surprised if I told you that not only was it written in the most simplistic manner possible but that every trite situation in which Austin would want to redeem himself or help a friend was used?
- Dying Kid (Check)
- Divorced Parents (Check)
- Infedelity (Check)
- Crush on Best Friend (Check)
- Drug Dependent Friend (Check)
- Rape (Check)
- Rich Grandparent (Check)
- Gay Friend (Check)
- Abuse (Check)
- Bullying (Check)
- Drinking (Check)
- Death (Check)
Imagine, as you will, a dying kid of 17. He decides that he wants to have “one last talk” with people that he has had issues with during his life time; to make amends before the inevitable. So he wants to take a “journey” with the only girl that he has ever loved. She also happens to be the his best friend. Imagine that. Also, by “journey” (you noticed the quotation marks) I mean, “Have her drive his pathetic ass around and then leave her to wait in the car hour after hour without so much an explanation while he accomplishes his tasks.” And he’s supposed to love her? Ppsh.
I know. I know. He’s dying of cancer so I should be easy on him. But I can’t. Not with a character that lacks in identity. I can’t relate. I can’t sympathize. Austin was not made real to me. It was like reading a bad story in a creative writing class. Where was her teacher, here? Why didn’t anyone encourage her to move beyond the predictable?
Austin and his driver, Kaylee, have the same exact voice. Kaylee is just as boring as he is and their dialogue between each other is predictable and superficial. But, anyway — all the activities in Day 1 up until the kegger feels like it should have taken all day and night and when he finally says that it’s only 9pm, I went, “Sure….” Plus the conversations he has with each person takes about 5 minutes, tops. How meaningful can a “last talk” be in just five minutes? However the reader was made to believe that his conversations took place over an hour or more. But really, the tasks were so brief that they almost seemed pointless.
Never Eighteen was just that bad. I really do not now what people were thinking giving it 5 stars, as I believe I am being rather generous at 2.5. I mean, the concept is great (for the most part) and I actually finished the book (in a few hours). But that’s about it. 5 Stars? People are really putting it up there in the “perfection” category, like nothing could be changed for the better? This book was just as good as the Harry Potter Series or The Hunger Games? I really do not think so and to say it was is insulting to the masters. Or are people just being nice?
One thing that I believe Bostic has some talent with is her poetry; two poems of which are shared in the novel. The poems were touching and meaningful. I think poetry is where her true talent is revealed and I think she should leave the teen YA genre behind and focus on her poetry.
It’s a good thing that this book hasn’t been officially released yet, because it needs a lot of work — like an entire rewrite. Maybe that sounds totally harsh, and it is — but someone has to be honest and it may as well be me.