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Never Eighteen Paperback – January 17, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"It is easy to connect with Austin because his journey is honorable.....Bostic's narrative is concise, chapters are short, and the story never lags. Her story is sad, but it is real and pulls no punches."--VOYA

"Bostic writes this graceful, affecting tale without pretension...Perhaps it's because of that simplicity that the story concludes with such a powerful emotional punch." --Kirkus

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

chapter one

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. I wake, shooting up, drenched in sweat. Jumping out of bed, I immediately head to my computer.

I need to get some things done this weekend, and I’m running out of time. God, I hope Kaylee can help. What if she asks what I’m doing? I can’t tell her, can I? No. She’d try to stop me, I’m sure of it. Shit, I hope she doesn’t have to work. I should have checked. Without her Mustang, I may not be able to do this, and I want to, I need to. Otherwise, things may just continue as they always have: painful, motionless. Like treading water. You stay afloat, but you never really get anywhere. A flash, a flicker of life, that’s all I want. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

I sit at the computer and stare at the monitor, wondering where to begin. I need to make a list. It’s hard, but soon it all comes rushing to me—people, places, things. Over and over I think of Kaylee. I want her to be there. Need her to be beside me through all of it.

I type until my thoughts die down, come to a stop. I hit print, grab the list, and shove it into the pocket of my jacket, hanging on my closet door. I look in the mirror. I’ve changed so much in the last year, physically, emotionally, mentally. I may be smaller now, but my heart and mind are stronger.

These last few months I’ve come to realize that life doesn’t wait. If we stand still it passes us by, and by the time we understand that, it may be too late. The people I see this weekend—I hope they’re okay with this. I want them to take hold of it and not let go. I hope they at least listen. If they don’t, it will kill me.

I grab a shoebox that’s been sitting in my closet. It held the new pair of green Converse high-tops my mom bought me before the school year started. Cool shoes. I take the lid off the box and put it on my bed. I pack the box with books, CDs, pictures, my poetry notebook, things that are important to me. I won’t have everything I need until Sunday night. On Monday, it goes to Kaylee’s for safekeeping.

It’s late, and I have a full weekend ahead of me. I put the lid back on the shoebox, and place it on the top shelf of my closet. Out of sight. There’s no need for my mom to find it. She wouldn’t understand.

I shut off the light and climb back into bed. My body’s tired, but my mind keeps working, churning. I’m anxious, nervous, thinking of what to say, what to do. Sleep comes with difficulty, but in the end, it still comes.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547550766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547550763
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I am just a mere human girl trying to make it in this crazy world. I'm the mother of two crazy beautiful girls, living in the rainy, but lovely Pacific Northwest.

Novelist, blogger, amateur poet, total flirt, self-proclaimed Facebook addict, and all around great girl, I also love making videos. I've done a chronicle of my writing journey on youtube. You can check that out here http://www.youtube.com/user/itlnbos.

I am also partial to monkeys, including the sock variety, and the color black.

My debut novel, Never Eighteen, will be coming your way Winter 2012 from Graphia, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The worst feeling in life has to be life ended too early. The idea of a young man never able to reach his eighteenth birthday is something we wish didn't happen. Megan Bostic takes this tragic story of a young man who knows his life is ending and what he chooses to do with his last weeks in Never Eighteen.

Austin has leukemia. He has been through chemo and all the treatments, but he knows they haven't worked. His mother wants him to continue, but he is finished with treatments. If the cancer is going to take him, he is going to do what he has always wanted to do. He is going to try and fix everyone in his life he knows is broken. Whether or not he knows why his friends or family are broken, Austin believes his unique position and shocking honesty might just save the people he loves.

Austin also needs to do some things for his own piece of mind before he goes. He has never skinny-dipped or ridden the scariest ride at the fair. Most importantly, he has never told his best friend Kaylee that he is in love with her. As Austin works through his list of things to do, he learns more about himself than he does the people he visits. Not all of it is good, but it gives him the peace he needs to finally say goodbye.

As I first started reading this book, I will admit I thought it was a bit too far fetched. As this boy started visiting everyone, I thought to myself, "Good grief! Is this boy a bad luck charm or something? Why is everyone around him in such dire straights?!" Then I just accepted that it was fiction and the horrible lives of his friends and family were necessary for dramatic effect. When the book finally ended, and I am sure there needs no spoiler alert to how it ends with such a premise and title, I was sobbing. Not just crying, but big, heaving, hiccuping sobs.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Never Eighteen" is a tender and thoughtful, albeit bittersweet story of a courageous teenage boy facing death, and looking to fix some of the situations that have gone wrong with the people in his life. It's a small book but it packs a wallop.

Austin Parker is tired of fighting a losing battle with leukemia and knows he only has a few weeks at most. With his beautiful young friend, Kaylee David, the girl he has loved all his life, he sets out to visit people he'd like to see happier and places where he's been the most happy.

I thought the author shows a wonderful understanding of teenagers and of the way, they speak and interact with one another. She also shows great insight and compassion regarding the feelings one experiences facing cancer and chemotherapy.

The first person narrative flows smoothly and is beautifully written. The character of Austin, in particular is exceptionally well drawn. The author shows her love for the Pacific Northwest and its many scenic spots. I was particularly enthralled with the young people's trip up Mt. Rainier, which is one of the world's true beauty spots.

I do have one little quibble with the publisher, however. They suggest the book is for kids from 12 and up. I spoke to some of my friends who have teenage kids in school and asked their thoughts on the matter. For senior kids in grade 9 and up, they tell me they are going to be surrounded by strong language, and there's nothing a parent who doesn't like this can do about it.

For twelve and thirteen-year-olds, they feel they still have some control. So because there is quite a lot of swearing, as well as a sex scene and much discussion on death, I would suggest the book is more for a young adult from 14 and up. In my opinion, anyone under that age would require some parental guidance.

But for the older teen, it is definitely an engaging read.
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Format: Paperback
First Impressions: I had been on a contemporary novel kick the past few days when I devoured Never Eighteen. I was busy moving into our new home and I needed a quick read. I also tend to enjoy depressing, for lack of a better word, type of books. Kid who is dying of cancer trying to make amends? Where can I sign up? This was a short book just over 200 pages and it didn't take up much of my time, even though, admittedly, it left me bawling like a baby. Now I know why the cosmetic companies make water-proof mascara and eyeliner. Holy smokes, this is an emotional one!

Characters & Plot: The plot is pretty much described in the book synopsis and I don't want to give too much more away then what the synopsis has given. Austin is sick. He has cancer. He is your typical teenage male high school student. He has a bunch of flaws, but knowing that he WILL die, he tries his best to make up for all of his mistakes, to the people he bullied, to his parents, and to his best friend. He has one weekend to complete what he has set out to do, with the help of Kaylee, the girl he has known since the third grade.

Okay, now at this point you must be thinking that the plot is predictable. It is predictable. I'm not going to sugar coat that fact. It has been done before (think Nicolas Sparks) but it was so incredibly well written. Megan Bostic has a major talent when it comes to word-smithing. Her descriptions of places and events that happen in the book are simply gorgeous. It may have been an old plot, but it really felt new to me. If I have any complaints about this book it would be that I wish I had had more background information prior to Austin's journey to self-forgiveness.

This is one of those books that really get you to think about life and how you are living it.
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