I found this book while wandering through Dymocks one day. It wasn't expensive or long, and had won a couple of awards, so I popped in it my bag. I hadn't heard anything about it, but picked it up one evening with the thought to read just a few chapters.
About 3 hours later, I had read the whole book, and had tears streaming down my face. This was certainly heavier than I had expected, even after reading the synopsis, but my goodness I think this is such an important text for young people.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I don't think I could have enjoyed this more!
Age suggestion: Now this is tricky. It's heavy. The main character is 12, and I do think that it would need to be at least 11+. I think it covered the topic of cancer and its treatment honestly and in a way that younger kids can understand. If you think that it's a topic that would be helpful for younger children, then it would make a good read-aloud together as a family.
Ability range: Unless they are weak readers, if they're old enough for the topic, they can handle the text. The more medical terms and concepts are well explained.
Content notes: This is certainly heavy. Phillip finds out his mother has breast cancer and struggles between the harsh reality of the situation, and the comedy that he strives to find in his every day. This is obviously a situation that too many young people have to go through, and having not been in that position myself, I don't know whether or not reading something like this would he helpful or harmful for those children. I do think that maybe it would be a good text for kids who have friends going through similar situations, as a way to answer some questions and develop an understanding of what that experience could be like. It doesn't just cover Phillip's mother and her experience, but the way Phillip withdraws from his friends, and the feelings he goes through.
Please, please, please pick up a copy of this - it's so beautiful, you won't regret it!