Next Round Of The Young Adult Cancer Book Club!

stacked books

It’s time for another round of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  This next book club pick is Amy Blumenfeld’s book, The Cast.  We’re really excited to read this book together!  Lacuna Loft is busy getting the books ready to ship and are now taking sign-ups!  Snag one of the 29 free books that we send out to young adult cancer patients and survivors in exchange for sharing your commentary on one of the book’s chapters.

If you’d like a free book in exchange for sharing some commentary, sign up below.  We’ll be sending the books out in just a couple of weeks. The reading assignments (for what chapter we’d love your commentary on) will go out then too, and in July we’ll start reading altogether and sharing your commentary weekly.

Once this round of book club officially starts, there are several ways for you to be involved in the book club:

  • Read the book along with us and check out the Young Adult Voices blog each Monday, starting in July for the next book chapter’s installment!
  • If you get behind, check out this page for all of the posts for Round 10 of the book club.
  • If you’d like to contribute your comments about a chapter, email info@lacunaloft.org at least a few days ahead of the Monday when that chapter will be discussed, with your comments and a short bio of yourself.

Learn more about the author and young adult cancer survivor, Amy Blumenfeld, and her book here!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Online Discussion!

brave enough book cover

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, Chapters 12-15, Chapters 16-20, Chapters 21-26, Chapters 27-32, Chapters 33-38, Chapters 39-43, Chapters 44-49, and Chapters 50-55.

It’s time for our Young Adult Cancer Book Club Online Discussion!

After having read through the entire book together, it is time to schedule our book club’s online discussion!  Plus, this time around we are extremely lucky to have the author joining us!

Who: young adult cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers along with the author, Kati Gardner!

When: Monday, March 30th @ 5-6 pm PT / 7-8 pm CT / 8-9 pm ET via video chat.

How does it work? RSVP by clicking the link below, and under “programs you’re interested in,” choose ‘book club’ to be notified with the link for the video chat. Lacuna Loft will send you an email a few days before the workshop with information on how to join the video chat. ***You’ll need the link that we’ll provide you, a headset with a microphone, and a webcam.***

Join in next Monday for the young adult cancer book club online discussion!

Click here to sign up to be notified with the info you need to join the book club discussion.  Go under ‘Programs you’re interested in. and choose ‘book club’’ (Feel free to choose to be notified when other programs are announced too!)


We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 50-55

dancing hands

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, Chapters 12-15, Chapters 16-20, Chapters 21-26, Chapters 27-32, Chapters 33-38, Chapters 39-43, and Chapters 44-49.

Week 12: Chapters 50-55

Commentary by Krista L.:

I thought these last chapters were a beautiful cap to a very honest and heartbreaking story. I liked Cason’s return to dancing, if in a different medium than she had before.

However, I think my favorite part of the entire book is in the Author’s Note, where she talks about her experiences with Ewing’s Sarcoma. To me, it made the story’s emotions, although fictional, more real.

Really loved this book!

Commentary by Heather M.:

Chapter 50 opens with the girls in camp preparing for the 90’s dance that night. Davis has left camp but returns just in time for the dance. Afterward, the girls are back in the cabins answering questions and MF brings up a time when the X-ray tech accidentally saw her topless and ran away.

This sticks with me so much because during chemo I constantly felt like anything that was once private really wasn’t anymore. Everyone was touching, prodding, examining and looking at my chest. I had to repeatedly answer invasive questions in front of my boyfriend that previously would have made my face burn. Eventually, it just becomes the norm.

The rest of the chapters focus on the growing relationship between Davis and Cason as well as Cason learning that dance is something that has changed but is still important to her. I loved that Cason eventually found a way to dance and share it with others. I felt like a lot of times, this book was a little young for me since I’m on the older end of ‘young adult’ 🙂 But the fact that she kept pushing for her goals and didn’t just focus on Davis was inspiring.

 

Join in next Monday for the young adult cancer book club online discussion!

Click here to sign up to be notified with the info you need to join the book club discussion.  Go under ‘Programs you’re interested in. and choose ‘book club’’ (Feel free to choose to be notified when other programs are announced too!)


We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 44-49

people around camp fire

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, Chapters 12-15, and Chapters 16-20, Chapters 21-26, Chapters 27-32, Chapters 33-38, and Chapters 39-43.

Week 11: Chapters 44-49

Commentary by Melissa K.:

Chapter 44 opens with the beginning of Camp Chemo. Davis has arrived and you can tell that there are weights lifted off of him… There is no talk about his feeling of needing to get high, no worrying about running into Ethan.

Every cancer patient needs an opportunity for an escape. After I had surgery to remove my brain tumor, I was able to go on vacation with my family before I started radiation. While the stress of the situation never quite leaves you, especially if you are newly diagnosed/still in treatment like Cason, you are able to be something more than a cancer patient.

Cason is back in cancer patient mode after she slips on the pool deck. After reassuring everyone that she feels ok, even Dr. H rushes over to check if she is ok. Despite being “away from it all,” it all is still there.

Chapter 49 ends with Davis finally getting some closure with his assault case. His parents sign him out of Camp so that he can identify Ethan. The police officers reassure him that Ethan will now be going to jail. The chapter ends there, but I am sure Davis will be able to go back to camp and focus on other things, like Cason!

 

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 50-55!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 39-43

tree on a hill

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, Chapters 12-15, and Chapters 16-20, Chapters 21-26, Chapters 27-32, and Chapters 33-38.

Week 10: Chapters 39-43

Commentary by Cassandra P.:

Chapter 39: I strongly dislike Ethan! His timing is the worst; always at Davis’ low points. By the end of Chapter 39 I was left unsure if Davis would use the pills Ethan gave him. I almost believe he will as his mind has told him many many times “just one hit” and I’m afraid he will do it just to try and ‘get rid of the thoughts.’ Please let me be wrong!

Chapter 40: Hallelujah for Margaret!! This is an amazing reminder that your actions do not go unnoticed and timing is everything. I loved how Margaret called Davis a fighter – such a positively loaded compliment.

Chapter 41: The growth and change in Natalie has been so nice to see. It happened quickly but that’s what follows a cancer diagnosis; everything happens quickly. My favourite part was when Natalie explained to Carson that she’s her job now and that maybe she can help other moms like her.

Chapter 42: I enjoy Kelsey’s strong character and creativity in her career. Even though it’s so obvious that Carson dislikes her she still pushes on and tries to open Carson’s mind about dancing in her future.

Chapter 43: Having a physical reminder (like the NA chip) is so important so you have something to remember how and why you came as far as you have. I also wish that Detective Avery would move a little faster in putting Ethan behind bars – like I said, what a pest!

 

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 44-49!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 33-38

man on bench

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, Chapters 12-15, and Chapters 16-20, Chapters 21-26, and Chapters 27-32.

Week 9: Chapters 33-38

Commentary by Xenia R.:

Chapter 33

The chapter begins with Cason learning that she is being discharged and the foundation of her and Davis’ friendship is being laid out.  He learns that her mom is attending the support group and is more open to Cason having cancer friends and attending camp.  The chapter ended with some of the friends from camp entering her room.

Chapter 34

Cason meets Noah, who also is an amputee but she couldn’t figure which leg.  I found this chapter and the ensuing conversation to be very authentic – while they were playing cards different topics were discussed, friendly rivalries were made aware to the reader, and they talked about different doctors.  Noah did share about his leg and why he chose to have a prosthetic while Mari did not. It was a conversation that to an outsider would seem so “brave” for YA’s having these conversations is the most normal part of this journey. The only way we know what to expect from our cancer journey is by talking to others.

Chapter 35

Everyone left when Cason needed to get more antibiotics.  Davis is still struggling with addictive thoughts and trying to find a way to deal with them, when the group decides to move the party to a coffee shop.

The parking spot scene and the group being called out for not being handicapped was so on point.  Just because a person or people don’t look sick/act sick or are behaving in the manner that you feel there diagnosis tells you they should does not mean they are fakers.  I would not have handled it as well as Jase did.

There was a line that struck me in this chapter – Jase spoke it – “Easy would be nice sometimes.  Ever feel like our lives are never easy?  Like somehow having cancer has put a black mark over us and we never get to have easy?” When I read that I was blown away because I have felt that many times and when I have shared that feeling with “non cancer” people their response was “But your alive,” to which I curse them off in my head. It was really reassuring to read my sentiment written down.

Chapter 36

Cason is being prepped for her prosthetic.  In the room are her mom and Mari, who decides to share how many different prosthetics she tried before finally deciding not to have one.  Bless Mari’s heart she knew she had upset Cason’s mom so she added that Cason had a residual limb and would have an easier time.

While the plaster was being applied to her leg, she again had the realization of all the dreams and everything that she had worked hard for would not come to fruition.

The chapter ends with Cason’s PT, Kelsey, thinking about a different way for her to build back her abdominal muscles.  Her thought process was triggered by looking at the different ways Cason was hoisted in the air, but she did share with Cason and her mom that she might be able to dance again.

Chapter 37

Davis was at the coffee shop when the detective in charge of his case called and shared that Ethan was arrested but also released on bail. The conversation ended right before Alexis Foster’s parents entered.

The conversation that followed was one of Davis asking forgiveness and sharing that he was struggling but also stating that he can’t live his life for Alexis but only for himself. This sentiment and commitment is an important one and a mature distinction for a teenager to make. We cannot live for other people we can only live for ourselves.

Chapter 38

Cason began her first session at the aerial studio. Through this modality Cason would be able to build her core strength while recreating the sensation of dancing.

While reading this I had a visual of this experience in my mind. How suddenly Cason was filled with hope and felt that she regaining some sense or pieces of her old self but in a different form.

 

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 39-43!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 27-32

hospital desk

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, Chapters 12-15, and Chapters 16-20, and Chapters 21-26.

Week 8: Chapters 27-32

Commentary by Rachel C.:

Each chapter is fairly brief and the story bounces back and forth between Cason’s struggle to accept her “new normal” (I hate that phrase with a passion!) after her amputation and Davis’ continuing struggle to stay sober.

Chapter 27 starts out with Cason working on her physical therapy. She struggles after her amputation to feel like a whole person, much less a dancer. In processing everything, she breaks up with Davis because she believes he needs someone who is whole. Davis often struggles with the desire to use and he struggles even more so after the breakup. He meets with Mr. Williams to talk about his struggle to stay sober. Mr. Williams gives Davis a ratty piece of paper which has David’s list of why he wants to stay sober. Cason becomes closer to Mari and other fellow cancer survivors in the hospital and they continue to try and convince her to go to cancer camp. Davis runs into Cason’s mom as she’s breaking down outside of the hospital. Cason’s mom thanks Davis for being a friend to Cason and asks if he has any other amputee friends he can introduce to Cason. Cason ends up hospitalized with an infection and it’s during that hospitalization that her mom finally accepts the invitation to go to a parent support group. Davis sits beside Cason’s bed while her mom goes to the support group and they begin to mend their friendship.

There’s so much of this story that I can relate to. I can’t imagine losing a limb like a leg or an arm to cancer because the physical parts of me that I lost to cancer were internal. But no matter what kind of cancer you’ve had, you’ve lost things. Cancer is a thief. It takes things from you. It can take body parts, your confidence, your trust, your security, your health, your peace,… It can take some relationships, friendships, your job, your financial stability…it can take your feelings of wholeness and worthiness. It can make you feel alone. But one of the biggest things I’ve learned since my diagnosis is that although you may feel alone, you are never alone. There are amazing resources for young adult cancer survivors and thrivers to stay connected and get support!

Commentary by Lisa C.:

I really connected with what Cason was experiencing in chapter 27 with the loss of something that defined her and was an incredibly important part of her life. I didn’t identify as a dancer but as a long-distance runner. It was a huge part of my identity, I spent so much time training, and a large circle of my friends was from the running community. After being diagnosed with lung cancer, running wasn’t really possible- or even enjoyable so I had to get creative. Cason’s anger is clearly masking the hurt and frustrating of her new reality and trying to redefine who she is aside from a dancer (in the traditional sense).

Cason clearly wasn’t thrilled about the idea of therapy. Going through everything that cancer entails, I’ve found many benefits of being connected with a counselor. Having someone neutral and removed from your immediate circle can be a place to release and explore without having to monitor or worry about the impact your words might have on those you love. You could feel the shift in Cason from when she first met her therapist to her beginning to open up. It’s definitely an intimidating first step to make and can feel overwhelming to add even more appointments into the mix.

In chapter 29, the author gave such a vivid glimpse into Davis’ brain and the consuming thoughts about his desire to use and find an escape. It really hit me when his mom explained to him that “It’s your disease I don’t trust”. You could instantly feel the shift for Davis when his mom separate Davis from the addiction. Mr. Williams is clearly an important fixture as Davis struggles with addiction and knows how to get through to Davis in a meaningful way. His wish/prayer list has obviously been looked at many times.

In chapter 30, you could feel the release that Cason got when she genuinely laughed with Mari. Laughter has been so helpful for me making it through everything cancer-related.

I’m sure we can all relate in some way to Cason’s experience of seeing her ballet shoes. Some things seem to hit hard and unexpectedly- reminders of who we were “before cancer” and dealing with our new reality.

Chapter 31 again gives a very in-depth look into Davis’s brain and he struggles with his addiction and to see himself as more than “just an addict.” His interaction with Natalie definitely shifted their relationship and you could tell that Davis felt that he was valued and more than his addiction. In the next chapter, Cason saw her mom and Davis walking together into the hospital and she can clearly see the shift as well. Chapter 32 gives us a taste of the unexpected hiccups that come along with having cancer and undergoing treatment and dealing with the side effects. It can feel like a setback. You can tell that both Cason and her mom have started to come to terms with the cancer diagnosis and all that entails. Natalie surprised Cason with her willingness to give the parent support group a try. This shows the impact that cancer has on our support system too and how important it is for caregivers to also be supported.

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 33-38!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 16-20

woman on cliff

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-11, and Chapters 12-15.

Week 6: Chapters 16-20

Commentary by Sam A.:

These chapters spoke very well to my experience with wanting to be the fiercely independent person I was before my cancer treatment. I know what it is like to have to rely on others to help you do things you feel and know you can do on your own. In Chapter 16 Cason said it best when it says, “She .. was tired of having to wait on her mommy to come and help her.” As I didn’t lose a leg I did lose the ability to use my hands because of one of the chemotherapy treatments. It would be debilitating pain in my hands that felt like they were on fire. It was so bad that I needed help being fed, going to the bathroom, and bathing. These are things that I was used to doing on my own and took patience allowing another person to do it the way they were used to. Chemo definitely opened me up to letting go and allowing others to serve me when I needed them the most. It was so heartbreaking to know that something she felt had no consequence (and in any other situation would have no consequence) was the reason she lost her leg completely.

In Chapter 17 when she told Davis what had happened she told him “I was just so tired of waiting on everyone to help me. .. I just wanted to be the one to make the decision.” In a situation like this you want any control over even the smallest things. Your life seems so out of your control that you have to take it back like she did with shaving her head on her terms. I went through this as well hearing that it is most liberating thing to make that decision on your own instead of letting your hair fall out. You get to make the call on when it goes.

After her fall I love that Davis comforted her in a way that no one else did. When she tells him “It’s not fair. None of it is fair.” He knew that others would try and tell her it was going to be alright. I tried to stay super positive even though I knew my life was going to be different after this. It’s not fair to anyone that has to endure that kind of pain but you have to find ways to cope and move forward anyway.

I really felt for Davis when after his girlfriend finds out she is going to lose her leg his ex-girlfriend overdoses. Going in to chemo I felt some guilt about not being able to help a few close family members that were going through depression and severe anxiety that has affected them almost every single day of their lives. I’m glad Davis had a good counselor to tell him, “You cannot help everyone. You can only help yourself. You can’t control other people and what they do. …You can control how you choose to deal with it.” I honestly cared more about their well-being than my own. I knew I was going to be ok but it hurt knowing that they have had to endure that pain and in this moment there wasn’t much I could do to help them.

Sometimes you can feel pretty numb to what is happening to you. Before chemo I was in denial. When I went into chemo I was in denial. It wasn’t until I started losing my hair that I felt the reality of how it was affecting me that made it real. In chapter 20 Cason says, “Rationally, I know this is what had to happen.” I remember being pretty close to the end of my treatment. It was the week before the “red devil” would enter my body once again and cause me to be reliant solely on my mom. I had an anxiety attack about not knowing if my treatment would be enough to beat the cancer. I related to the words Cason said about ” .. there could still be some rogue cancer in my body.” That’s the scary thing about cancer. I was worried about how my anxiety would be after chemo. Was the treatment really working? Would I live my life in fear that it could come back? Would I be worried that someone I know and love would have to endure the same thing? I didn’t like feeling that those chances could be high. Luckily I had amazing doctors that validated me by giving me the hope I needed that the treatment was working exactly as expected. I think I stayed relatively positive throughout my experience. It took until after I resumed my life that I started feeling a little more resentment and anger for what I had to endure, unlike Cason who felt it pretty quickly after her surgery.

As I mentioned before I understand the guilt that comes especially when you have that much time to think and reflect on your life. In Cason’s situation, she had guilt from the small mistake she made. As Heather comforts her she says, ” You woke up one morning with a plan, you took a shower, something we all do, a basic necessity, and then you went to bed with one leg. That’s a lot to process and figure out.” I feel like there were a lot of things that I had to process and it wasn’t always cancer-related. I kept thinking about past relationships and other mistakes or “bad choices” I had made. Sometimes I used those things to justify why I was even in this situation in the first place.. which sounds crazy. I don’t know that it’s something everyone in my situation internalizes but for me my insecurities opened up in bigger and harsher ways than they had ever opened up before. There were times where I wanted to just do as Cason expressed and ” pull the covers over (my) head and sleep until all of this was over.. (and) hide in a dark room and wait for life to resemble what it had been”.It was at times hard to see the light at the end. In hindsight, I know what a blessing cancer had been for the personal progression in my life and it continues to be a blessing in ways I didn’t think possible.

 

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 21-26!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 9-11

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapters 2-5, and Chapters 6-8.

Week 4: Chapters 9-11

Commentary by Taylor K.:

Chapter 9 starts with Davis waking up in the hospital after things went south with Ethan. He doesn’t have a great relationship with the law, so he is debating telling his parents and the police what really happened. Cason visits and he tells her the truth. The next day, Cason’s counts start to plummet so she is getting a blood transfusion. Heather and Davis stop by to distract her from the blood. They decide to play Uno and make a bet about shaving Cason’s head. She loses the game (and the bet) almost on purpose to finally have some control in her life.

I really resonated with those feelings. When I started losing my hair, I was in shock for a bit. I thought maybe it would stop before it got too bad? The realization that that definitely wouldn’t happen then brought on the same control thoughts that Cason had. This is what I had control of so my husband and I blasted some music and made it a party. Bon Voyage, hair!

This section ends with Dr. Henderson looking over Davis himself and talking about what happened. Dr. H. gave his support and reasoning for Davis to tell the truth. Afterwards, Cason and Davis agree to make yet another bet over Uno about going to the cops. Davis loses but like Cason, doesn’t really mind following through with the bet.

Commentary by Krystal H.:

These chapters contain one of my favorite scenes in the book—the shaving scene!

I connected with this scene on multiple levels. It seems to be something that Cason is open to doing, but there’s the issue of her mom’s approval and Cason’s own reluctance to go through with it. Then comes along Davis, with a silly card game and a gentle push to finally do it in the guise of a bet.

Sometimes, that sort of light-hearted support is what we need to actually do something that’s good for us, but that we’re also reluctant to do. I definitely needed something along those lines when I was starting my diagnosis process. I didn’t want to go to the doctor about the lump in my neck, and my friends lovingly chided me into downloading an app to search for doctors in the area.

The shaving scene itself was adorable. I almost wished I had decided to shave my head, instead of just letting everything fall out. In the end, I think just letting it go was my way of dealing with that aspect of the cancer experience, and I’m happy with my decision. I think I needed a slow goodbye to the super-long hair that I’d carried around all my life. Watching it fall away, in the end, was very freeing.

Speaking of different ways to deal with things, I feel like Cason’s mom really illustrates just how hard it is for some family members/friends to come to grips with what’s happening to their loved ones. I have so many friends whose families don’t get it, or who don’t want to acknowledge the trauma that cancer causes. I had friends who couldn’t seem to come to grips with it, too. Cason, in these chapters, is acknowledging what’s happening to her in a healthy way, accepting the things she can and cannot change—and acting on it.

Her mom, on the other hand, is still trying to hold on to normalcy when things just aren’t normal anymore. Even though she’s a frustrating character, I’m glad she’s written like that. I feel like sometimes we just expect family members to automatically be super supportive and accepting, but they’re people too, with their own mess and character flaws and issues to deal with. Acceptance from family members isn’t always forthcoming, and this is reality for a number of my cancer friends. I feel like Cason’s mom’s struggle with acceptance over her daughter’s illness quite nicely illustrates the complexities of such a situation—simultaneously conveying the pain felt by Cason at her mom’s denial, while also clearly showing her mother’s love for her.

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 12-15!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Book Club: Brave Enough, Chapters 6-8

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club! We are reading Brave Enough by Kati Gardner!   Catch up on Chapter 1 and Chapters 2-5.

Week 3: Chapters 6-8

Commentary by Aerial D.:

We dive right into the middle of Cason’s first chemo round. Her child life specialist, Heather, is introduced and is communicating to Cason and her mom, Natalie, about the different programs that Cason is eligible for. Natalie is uninterested, if not borderline offended that Heather would assume any of this applies to the two of them. I think this probably coming from a place of denial. I can only imagine how hard it is for Natalie to accept that her daughter’s dance trajectory will not come to fruition. However, this is not helping Cason at all, and luckily Heather is pretty receptive to this and is able to come back and have a more productive conversation while Natalie is grabbing lunch.

As we get to know Davis more, we learn how much of a battle with narcotics he still has. Every day takes considerable willpower to not use. Volunteering at the hospital seems to be helpful and he enjoys helping take care of Cason. Unfortunately, he runs into a dealer, Ethan, on the way out of NA and has quite a kerfuffle. We later learn he ends up in the ER.

When we pivot back to Cason, she starts losing her hair and almost in the same breath, we learn that she also made it into the Studio Company. This turns into a particularly low point for her. Having cancer is finally starting to set in, as the chemo is making her more sick, her physical appearance is quickly changing, and now a goal that she had been working on for a long time is finally in her grasp but she is unable to reap the rewards of achieving it. This, in a nutshell, I feel like perfectly sums up several young adult cancer survivors’ lives. Cancer never comes at a convenient time and definitely completely derails whatever goals are trying to be achieved at the time of diagnosis.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Cason accepts and handles what her diagnosis and treatment plan throw at her, and how she is able to adapt!

 

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on chapters 9-11!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!