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Somebody Up There Hates You: A Novel Hardcover – September 3, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Being 17 years old is hard enough, but being 17 with cancer can be downright depressing. It's a good thing Richard Casey has found a partner in crime in the mischievous Sylvie Calderone, the 15-year-old girl down the hall in their hospice ward. Staging a Halloween prank together helps take their minds off the harsh reality of their situation: both teenagers have been given less than a month to live. When Richie's mother falls ill with the flu, he finally gets the space he so desperately wants to act like every other teenage boy. Sprung from the hospital by his wacky Uncle Phil, the pair engage in a memorable night of All Hallows' Eve debauchery in the neighboring town of Hudson in upstate New York. Richie runs afoul of Sylvie's drunken father, however, with whom he's had earlier altercations. Things escalate when, back in the hospice unit, Sylvie announces to Richie her plans to lose her virginity with him. The hospital staff, charmed by the pair's romance, turn a blind eye as the two grow closer. The same cannot be said for Sylvie's father, who becomes increasingly unstable as his daughter deteriorates. This heartfelt novel turns out to be much more hopeful than macabre, despite the teens' terminal diagnoses. The language is raw and even profane at times, but hardly inappropriate given the circumstances. Richie can be a little corny, and his uncle is definitely over-the-top, but the book is mostly strengthened by its memorable supporting characters. This novel is respectful of its serious subject matter, yet is an entertaining and heartening read.-Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Seventeen-year-old Richard, who calls himself The Incredible Dying Boy, is a kid with cancer who is a patient on a hospice ward, with, perhaps, a month to live. But, he muses, life is all about surprises, the whole you-never-know thing. In the meantime, whenever anyone asks what ails him, his answer is a breezy I have SUTHY syndrome. It’s an acronym, he explains: I’ve got Somebody Up There Hates You syndrome. Yes, the voice with which Richard tells his story is wry, darkly humorous, and sometimes acerbic, but whenever he thinks of Sylvie, the 15-year-old girl down the hall, it is also loving and hopeful. Despite their illnesses, the two teens have fallen deeply for each other. Every story has a villain, though, and Richard’s is Sylvie’s fire-breathing father. No wonder the boy thinks of the man as a dragon, and who knows what will happen when the father ultimately erupts. Seamon’s first young-adult novel is a tender, insightful, and unsentimental look at teens in extremis. It brings light to a very dark place, and in so doing, does its readers a generous service. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart
Top customer reviews
Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon (YA)
This is so much more than a cancer book. Richard (main character) is written in such a way that his voice is so true to life. Richard is in hospice and so is Sylvie....and both are teenagers. They try to retain some sort of normalcy with their budding romance but that creates more problems for both them and their families. The secondary characters (the harpy, Edward, Richard's mother, uncle and grandmother) are interesting and bring even more depth to the book. I could see this book being called a grittier The Fault in Our Stars...and I mean that as a compliment. Add to this that the author is 1. local and 2. was my Honors English 101 professor at college and that just completes the package. I highly recommend it.
In retrospect, I did love SUTHY. It was full of sarcasm and fun and heart-felt moments that build up to its (inevitable) conclusion. It's such a powerful love story that you can't compare to TFIOS because they're in two different leagues. I loved TFIOS==SUTHY is more of an indie-book--but I feel like I've you want a clean-cut novel with a bow, read TFIOS. If you want a gritty novel that'll make you laugh and possibly cry at the end, I HIGHLY recommend Somebody Up There Hates You.
I really felt for Richard's young mother the most. He denies it throughout the novel but he's really okay with the short time he has left. His mother on the other hand, had him at 16 years old and now at 33/34 she's left without the child she gave everything up for. If that's not a cautionary tale for the young teens who may read this book I don't know what else is.
I hated Slyvie's (Richard's fellow hospice girlfriend) father with a fiery passion. Richard's only 17, sick and throughout the story does nothing to warrant the level of abuse and hate this man sends his way. Though since the story has a nice sort of outerworldly mysticism to it, perhaps the man's just a stand in for the titular "somebody up there hates you." No rhyme or reason, just sucks.
The writing is great and the author does a fantastic job of showing you Richard's (and others) character traits without having to tell it a million different ways. I found myself really liking almost everyone in the book by the end and saw all their point of views. Still, I'm unsure what to make of this book as a whole. Good first effort from this author though.
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By the grace of god go I