Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. Scholastic, 2004. Genre: Realistic Fiction
In Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, Steven Alper is a 14-year old who's having a life like any other teenager would. Everything changes instantly once his younger brother Jeffrey (who he can't stand) gets diagnosed with leukemia. One by one things start to drastically fall apart as Jeffery gets sick; Jeffrey and his mom are constantly traveling to the Philadelphia Hospital, leaving Steven home alone with his dad who's not taking it well. His mom quits her job, the bills start piling up and Steven has to deal with everything including school as his life all of a sudden becomes extremely hard and complicated.
"A brave book....Sonnenblick carries it off with such charm and elan, you forget for a moment your heart is breaking."-Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and'Tis.
The story is told in first person, by Steven's perspective which is the most effective as he is practically the center of everything going on. Since it's told in a teenager's perspective, teenagers such as myself can easily relate to what's going on and can connect to the issues he has to deal with. You believe it's a teenager talking to you due to the realism and the vocabulary the author uses. The story is told with dark humor as Steven makes jokes and sarcastic remarks (as teenagers do) and the reader laughs along but also keeps in mind the seriousness of the issue. The book reminds me of the book Small Steps by Louis Sachar as that featured a teen who tries to turn his life around but everything spirals out of control.
"And this was the absolute worst thing about last October 7th, the one moment I'll never forgive myself for. When my mother began to tell me tht my baby brother had leukemia, my first feeling was relief." (36)
The book taught me to always stick with what or who is important to you. When Steven met a friend named Samantha who was a cancer-patient at the hospital who was his age, they had a normal teenager conversation. They talked about clothes, music, school etc. Then she told him how her sister never visits her anymore as her sister went off to college. Samantha told Steven to promise her that he would stay by his brother no matter what. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's a good thing he kept that promise. I liked this book as it was honest about life and had the perfect amount of humor and emotion. I will try to check out more books by this author.