Review: Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Never EighteenNever Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Page Count: 204
Published by: HMH Children's Books
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

I had the dream again. The one where I’m running. I don’t know what from or where to, but I’m scared, terrified really.

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. But in the short time he has left there’s one thing he can do: He can try to help the people he loves live—even though he never will.

It’s probably hopeless.

But he has to try.

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The premise behind Never Eighteen is sad, and I admit I cried once at the beginning of the book, and once at the end, but overall it lacked emotional depth. It seemed very matter of fact and I had a hard time feeling much of anything for the characters. Because we are immediately thrust into Austin's life as it is now, it was difficult to make a connection with him. A little bit of a back story at the beginning would have given readers a peek into Austin's world and given us a reason to care about him.

When Never Eighteen begins, Austin is making a sort of bucket list of things he wants to do and things and/or people he wants to 'fix'. We can feel his need for immediacy. But the book progressed with the rhythm of a checklist, and most of it felt forced and contrived. It seems unbelievable that everyone Austin has known in his life is screwed up in some way. They are all stereotypes - even his own parents.

While I can understand Austin's reasons for wanting closure and to set things right with those around him before he dies, it seemed as though he was doing it to make himself feel better, not the other person. Readers will never know how much of an impact he makes on the lives of those he visits. Hopefully he was able to make at least a small difference.

This wasn't a terrible book, and I did enjoy reading it, even though the writing was a bit rushed. I really believe it could have had more of an emotional impact. My crying at the end of this book was more about the thought of a young man with so much potential dying, and less to do with the thought of the character of Austin dying. I wish that wasn't the case, but there you go.

On a personal note, the protagonist in Never Eighteen is 17 year old Austin James. My son is 17 and his name is Dallas James. Because of that, while I was reading, I couldn't help but compare the two and think about what if my own son was in this situation? Although my son is nothing like the character of Austin, I could still sympathize with what Austin was going through.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


  1. Lately there are too many books about death. After I read third, it was all too much "seen it all before" kind of a feeling.

  2. Sounds really sad... but great review!


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