Author: Gonsalves, Florence
Seventeen-year-old Chamomile struggles to bring together her two universes of school, filled with the hype of senior year and future plans, and home, where her father is living with a terminal illness, until she meets a fellow student and hospital volunteer who helps her understand both worlds as one.
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 Gr 8 Up—After being kicked out of public school for a violent outburst and sent to anger management, high school senior Chamomile Myles enrolls at Gill School, a place of uniforms and typical teenage anxiety. Cham struggles to balance her two worlds: there's school, with worries about prom, college applications, the annual service trip to Nicaragua, and the future; and there's home, where she keeps her father's terminal illness a secret, even from her best friends Abigail and Hilary, with whom she often feels like a third wheel. Cham's mother obsessively stress cleans while allowing her father to pretend his problems are from an old motorcycle accident, when clearly he has advanced Parkinson's. Then Cham meets Brendan, a hospital volunteer and social outcast who effortlessly bridges the gap between her two wildly different worlds. Struggling to pass English and reeling from her brief romance with track star heartthrob Gene Wolf, Cham finds her new friendship with Brendan helpful in many ways. Gonsalves's witty style, diverse characters, and powerful portrait of mental health will intrigue teen and adult readers alike. VERDICT Recommended for realistic fiction fans of John Green and Nicola Yoon.—Laura Jones, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 High-school senior Chamomile Myles is having a rough year: her father's undiagnosed Parkinson's disease is headed toward its final stages, while she wrestles with college applications and a huge crush on fellow runner Gene. Her best friends, Abigail and Hilary, are supportive about her Gene obsession, but no one knows about her father's illness. Then, fellow student, hospital volunteer, and eccentric dresser Brendan, known for his man bun and tutu, enters her family's life to help her dad, and Cham realizes there's more to relationships than the giddy physical attraction she feels for Gene. Diary entries, text messages, and letters to Dear Universe offer multiple viewpoints, while Gonsalves captures teen dialogue, concerns, and activities with realism and empathy. Awkward parties with body shots and beer pong, the logistics of when and where to lose one's virginity, and the humiliation of rejection are all portrayed with unflinching honesty. Gonsalves' sympathetic and multidimensional portrait of a young woman facing major challenges will appeal to fans of John Green. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.