Review From User :
Sick Kids In Love is getting slammed on the "best of the year" shelf SO FAST that my heart is still beating overtime. I loved it. Absolutely, wholly, achingly so. I'm really passionate about #ownvoices books and disability lit, especially when both collide in stories that are so deeply needed in this world. This is about the reality of chronic illnesses, and it's also about control and being vulnerable and being proud and owning your mistakes and apologising. It has TWO Jewish main characters!! Which I loved. And I am a MESS over it, in the best possible way.
I thoroughly want everyone to read this book.
e v e r y o n e
..."The sick kids don't die in this one..."
This is the tagline and you KNOW this book isn't here to mess around with problematic stereotypes. This is reason #4984 we need more #Ownvoices disability and chronic illness rep, okay So I have a disability but i'm able-bodied, so I'm not equating my experience to Isabel and Sasha's completely in this review at all. But I have to say...so much of this book resonated with me, had me turning pages fervently into the night unable to put it down, while I felt so. very. seen.
Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis and Sasha has Gaucher Disease. Her illness is invisible, his isn't. There is so so much nuance in the discussion of this, how it feels to be told "you're perfectly healthy" when your body is screaming in pain. How Isabel is gaslit by doctors and literally has moments where she's scared she made up her pain How her friends encourage her to do things that will leave her in pain because they don't want to "hold her back". How she IS disabled but can she be proud of it Can she own it, when people like Sasha are obviously worse Sasha is constantly in hospital, his bones break so easily, he goes on oxygen a lot, his body bares the scares of wounds and devastations and shutting down organs.
Like, it just makes me cry to read a book about disability where you can acknowledge the suckage and also be proud of who you are. And these kids are 16 so YES they make mistakes and they can be shitty to each other. I really really really loved that too They're flawed and they're perfect because of that.
I want to read books where they're disabled or sick and they DON'T die and they DON'T have to become someone else to find love. (And none of this is a spoiler because it's literally the tagline!!!)
...all the romance feels.
Okay so also, the romance is perfect and 10/10 would die for Sasha and Isabel. I also super loved how the book features a growing relationship. I love #meetcutes where that's the whole romance dynamic, but I also want more books about learning TO be in a relationship that isn't all "we just met so everything is perfect" feels! GAH THESE TWO. My heart imploded for them and their growing pains.I just so so so wanted them to be okay together.
...new favourite characters
I mean obviously. I'm going to gush this whole review. Buckle up.
Isabel -- Like I love her She's in pain and struggling, she doesn't want to change for a boy, but how do you know when you're changing for better She's not always nice. She's real. She's not a risk taker. She's not always okay but she doesn't know when she's allowed to admit it. And she DOES N O T DATE...but then there's Sasha.
Sasha -- okay he is ADORABLE and a total dork and falls in love very very fast. They're both Jewish so they connect over that, while Sasha just sort of envelops Isabel into his messy and dynamic family. And I love how he's perfect but he'sÂ not, and he's very very sick, but doesn't get angry. But he forgets his perspective isn't theÂ only one.Also my favourite thing Just them hanging out. Just them being CUTE TOGETHER. Omg the cute levels shattered me at every opportunity. I loooooove them.
"You know what will be fun"
"When we can stop pretending that we're interesting people who go out and do things and instead we can hang out and just do nothing."
It's incredible to hear those words out of someone's mouth besides mine. Not that I've ever said them, actually. Who would I say them to
"That sounds amazing," I say.
...I can't even stop thinking about it.
It's definitely the kind of book that has stuck with me. I finished it and immediately wanted to reread. Loveable and messy, and heartbreaking and healing. It has so much pain and pride, and it's incredibly well written. Dialogue you'll be addicted to. Cute moments to smother yourself in smiles. Heart wrenching moments you will closer your eyes and panic over. This book, okay. This book.
"Y'know I googled you, too," he says.
"Yeah, well first I had to look you up because you said your dad was the...y'know, the head guy, and I was curious. And then I found out your last name was Garfinkel and realised you must be Jewish, and so now I'm in love with you."
"I'm sick," I say. "And I don't wish that I wasn't. And I don't really care how uncomfortable that makes you anymore."
"I think it was like..." She paints a stripe of nail polish. "We didn't want you to feel like you were less capable."
"And I appreciate that, but I don't actually need to feel more capable. I need to feel like it's okay to not be more capable."
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