Living in the dark, knowing the sunlight is above. Out of reach. Paulini could feel its warmth beam down on her face, like a lighthouse giving hope to a vessel.
She was that vessel. An empty vessel. She is imprisoned in a hellhole, an abode of the damned. She is serving a sentence, her world not her own - no control over her life, no authority over her day, she must abide by the rules – but whose rules are they? And is she really imprisoned?
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Paulini yearns for sunlight, but is imprisoned away from it. She has cancer and is sixteen. Her dad can't deal with her disease, her brother wants her tech stuff when she dies, and associated Greek relatives are … Greek dramatic. Her guy ignores her, going so far as to take up with a new girl, and even the local bully backs off. Paulini feels adrift.
Josie Montano's YA story opens with a bang and never slows down. Cancer treatments during a ten day hospital stay is compared to being in juvenile detention. The character's voice and reactions are very teen, and they come through in a way that hits home for everyone. This book is a must read for any family dealing with a teen that has cancer. It's a tonic for teens coping with this dreadful disease. I found myself cheering for Paulini to survive, to keep going, but the ending had me in tears. Wonderful job!
It’s hard enough being 16 at the best of times let alone when your boyfriend’s not speaking to you, your Dad is depressed, your Mum is gone, and you’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. All this and more is experienced by Paulini during a summer she will never forget.
Josie Montano deftly weaves together a cast of memorable characters. There is the dramatic Greek grandmother, the stern nurses, Paulini’s friends and enemies. We explore how Paulini deals with her diagnoses and treatment, her dreams and fantasies, and the impact that being seriously ill has on her and those close to her. There are several themes running through the story including friendship, love, relationships and life itself.
This book is suitable for teens and young adults. It has serious themes that are explored in a sensitive and thought-provoking way. Paulini is an engaging character and she will stay with the reader long after they have put the book down.
(This review is by Nina Lim and was first posted at Buzz Words www.buzzwordsmagazine.com)
In this poignant story, Paulini discovers the true meaning of friendship and love, and finds an inner strength she never knew she had.
Sunlight is hard to put down, and readers are swept along on Paulini's difficult journey, as she struggles to cope with the treatment and the full impact of her illness.
Paulini is a great character with a strength and sense of humour that make her story even more poignant.
"Oh my God! Paulini, do you have cancer?"
Did she have to yell it out? Might as well have taken out an ad in one of those trash mags, ‘Girl, 16, cancer, might as well be dead.’ Just wanted to run into the toilets and hide. I could hear the whispers, could see the solemn faces, they didn’t know what to say, what to do. Honestly neither did I. I felt so sick in my stomach and so angry.
Josie Montana uses strong symbolism to share Paulini's plight and allow the reader to experience the depths of her emotions.
There's also a realism to Paulini's family that make her story so believable. Apart from her traumatised dad, there's her dramatic grandmother, Ya Ya and her younger brother, Theo who has his own way of dealing with things.
Sadly, teenagers do go through Paulini's experiences and it's important that stories like this be told. Teens need to be able to read and talk about these issues and find characters like Paulini that they can connect and empathise with.
In spite of its difficult topic and some heartbreak in the book, Sunlight ends on a positive note and gives the reader hope.
Sunlight reads like a raw and gritty diary of 16 year old Paulini. The scenarios go between a teen faced with cancer and the metaphorical prison she feels a part of because of it. Montano's book will appeal to the emotional side of readers as they find out the inner thoughts of Paulini and her dealing with cancer. Montano really captures the many ways people react and treat someone with cancer; from a deadbeat boyfriend to a withdrawn father, Paulini learns to tackle her emotions head on and look to the positive, if she wants to try and survive. As she says in the book..."it's the quality not the quantity of life that's important", a lesson we should all take to heart. Montano does an excellent job taking on this sensitive issue, and I applaud her comparisons between the hospital ward and jail. Intriguing read!