The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow
Publishing Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304 pages
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise: The story follows a boy named Francis who comes from a broken family because his dad left and his older brother has moved out. Despite all this and not having as many friends, he somehow makes it work. Until one day he is diagnosed with leukaemia. While in the hospital for his treatments, he meets another patient in the cancer ward, Amber. Amber is fierce and tough and he falls in love with her instantly. He considers Amber his first truly best friend and even more than that. However as luck would have it, as their friendship blossoms and Francis seems to be recovering, Amber is not and the story unfolds with how Francis comes to deal with this.
My overall thoughts and review: To begin with, I must say, I really, really, really enjoyed this book. I was kind of off "TFiOS-like" books for a little, but this was one that really surprised me. Francis is an incredibly lovable character. For someone quite young, he takes the news of his illness in such stride and he sounds like a fifteen year old, which is something that can sometimes not sound realistic in some YA novels which would be off-putting for me. Crow does it perfectly. I just loved seeing the process of Francis fall in love with Amber and Amber fall in love with Francis. I loved how they just became so much more with their relationship, but their character development was not contingent on their relationship. Despite the outcome of the novel, they both still shined even after the outcome. The book also handles sickness in a really good way and although the central plot of the novel is the love story, it really focuses on how to deal with a child with Francis' and Amber's condition and how significant family is during a time like this. Francis' interactions with his brother, his mother and grandma were just lovely to read and I really looked forward to those scenes. All in all, this book had a really cute love story, it tackled issues of sickness and how to see the bright side in dark matters and mostly, emphasized the significance of family. The beginning chapters reminded me of a TV show that I quite like, "My Mad Fat Diary" and I think that people who were fans of Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story will really enjoy this story! I highly recommend it and I think it is definitely something that contemporary lovers will enjoy!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: An advanced readers copy of this book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.