What if you only had a short while to live? What would it change about how you live? Would you take more chances or fewer risks? Would you tell everyone, a few close friends, or no one? Would you make plans for the future or focus on making memories for those you would leave behind?
Chris Crutcher explores this issue in Deadline, the story of 18 year old Ben Wolf. While at the doctor for his sports checkup, he learns that something is not right with his blood. Further tests show that he has a rare blood disease that is certain to kill him - aggressive treatment might extend things a bit, but there is no "long-term" left in his world. All of this happens in the first ten pages of the book. Then Ben starts wrestling with the big questions - what is the best use of the time he has left? What meaning will his life have had once he's gone? What risks are worth taking? As always, Crutcher explores these issues with a side order of humor.
Forever Changes, by Brendan Halpin, also looks at these questions. Brianna Pelletier is a high school senior, gifted in mathematics, who also has Cystic Fibrosis. Her case is fairly severe, and she doesn't think she has a whole lot of time left. All of her friends and classmates are making plans for college and the future, and she's not so sure she has a future to consider. Halpin is good at grabbing the reader's interest. My son picked up the book, thinking he'd read a chapter or two, and finished the book a few hours later.
Interestingly enough, both books have a music link. Ben Wolf finds that the song Too Old to Die Young resonates with him, while Brianna discovers a CD called Forever Changes by the group Love touches her deeply. You can find both of these at EVPL - see the links below.
Love's Forever Changes concert
Moe Bandy's version of Too Old to Die Young