Reviews for Somebody Up There Hates You


Booklist Reviews 2013 September #2
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. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Seventeen-year-old Richie, "the Incredible Dying Boy," is toward the end of his fight with cancer. But he and Sylvie, the only other teenager in the unit, intend to live life to the fullest, experiencing it as normal teenagers through a myriad of shenanigans. Seamon's approach to the "cancer story" is refreshing, using humor and wit to frame her vividly drawn characters' experiences.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
When you're surrounded by death, anything can look like a good opportunity. Death is all around 17-year-old Richie Casey. Diagnosed with cancer, he's spending his final days in hospice care in upstate New York. He's weak. He can't eat. He's also a wiseass with a biting sense of humor, and he's persuasive enough to convince even the toughest nurse to let him do what he wants. Seamon's debut for teens follows Richie over 10 days leading up to his 18th birthday. His ne'er-do-well uncle breaks him out for a wild, cathartic, drunken, lust-filled night on the town in a wheelchair to celebrate Cabbage Night (the night before Halloween). He pursues his girlfriend down the hall, Sylvie, who is also dying from cancer. Each character is vividly drawn, with a sharp, memorable voice that readers will love and remember. While there is plenty of death to go around, the novel's tone shifts from dark to light when opportunity presents itself to narrator Richie. Both the characters and readers empathize with his urge to break out and experience life despite his constraints and the consequences that might befall him. His ups and downs are what power the plot, and readers come to learn that Ritchie isn't full of joie de vivre. Instead, he's full of fight, and that's what makes him so admirable and memorable. A fresh, inspiring story about death and determination. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 July #2
When you're surrounded by death, anything can look like a good opportunity. Death is all around 17-year-old Richie Casey. Diagnosed with cancer, he's spending his final days in hospice care in upstate New York. He's weak. He can't eat. He's also a wiseass with a biting sense of humor, and he's persuasive enough to convince even the toughest nurse to let him do what he wants. Seamon's debut for teens follows Richie over 10 days leading up to his 18th birthday. His ne'er-do-well uncle breaks him out for a wild, cathartic, drunken, lust-filled night on the town in a wheelchair to celebrate Cabbage Night (the night before Halloween). He pursues his girlfriend down the hall, Sylvie, who is also dying from cancer. Each character is vividly drawn, with a sharp, memorable voice that readers will love and remember. While there is plenty of death to go around, the novel's tone shifts from dark to light when opportunity presents itself to narrator Richie. Both the characters and readers empathize with his urge to break out and experience life despite his constraints and the consequences that might befall him. His ups and downs are what power the plot, and readers come to learn that Ritchie isn't full of joie de vivre. Instead, he's full of fight, and that's what makes him so admirable and memorable. A fresh, inspiring story about death and determination. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 November/December
Seventeen-year-old Richard nicknames his perspective on life SLUTHY. He shares his humorous, often sardonic, take on his life over a single week. Dying of cancer, he is living in a hospice unit, supported by a devoted mother, eccentric uncle, and sympathetic grandmother. Sylvie, 15, vibrant, and also dying, lives across the hall. The two become close, indulging in pranks, dreams, tears, and more. Although Richard's voice is convincing and strikingly present, the novel, juxtaposing "coming of age" with "coming of death," is uneven, uncertain of its audience, and not totally satisfying. The language and sex suggest an older audience, but this is an easy read which could appeal to diverse readers. Marney Welmers, Librarian, Tortolita Middle School, Tucson, Arizona. ADDITIONAL SELECTION Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #2

Dying's lousy at any age, but it's even worse if, like Richie Casey, you're 17. But even in hospice, a lot can happen in a short time, as Richie finds out. Indeed, an almost amazing amount: Richie's uncle takes him out for a night of partying; girls start paying attention to him (and not just Sylvie, the 15-year-old across the hall); there are pranks and fistfights; and Richie gets a chance to be a normal teenager--or as normal as possible, given that he's surrounded by nurses, never knows how he'll feel next, and the annoying harpist in the lobby just keeps playing. In her YA debut, adult author Seamon balances the grim reality of teenagers with terminal cancer with the fact that, cancer or not, they're still teens. Initially, Richie comes across as almost manic, but once readers settle deeper into the story, they will see Richie and Sylvie for who they are and understand that being near death doesn't mean abandoning hope for the life that remains. Ages 14-up. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

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 Library

[Page 101]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2013 October
Seventeen-year-old Richard Casey is spending the last few days of his life in hospice. Rather than having a pity party, Richard is determined to be a normal teenager. He plays pranks, sneaks out of hospice with his uncle, gets drunk and a little high, hooks up with multiple girls, and gets into fights. His blossoming romance with Sylvie, the girl down the hall, has charmed hospice staff into bending the rules and turning a blind eye. Richard is not just out to cause mischief and mayhem in his final days; he is at peace with his pending death, but deeply concerned about the impact that it will have on his mother. This is not just another teen-dying-of-cancer story. Seamon has created a smart-mouthed, funny, occasionally raunchy, very typical teen boy narrating the final days of his life in a way that is unflinching, graphic, at times funny, and at times heartbreaking. Readers will alternate between shaking their heads at his self-centeredness, laughing at his smart mouth, and reaching for tissues as Richard really learns what it means to grow up. Richard is quite blunt in his descriptions of his first experiences with oral sex. The consequences of his giving Sylvie her greatest desire (to not die a virgin) are graphically described, and nearly results in Sylvie's death. Sylvie's father reacts to this by violently beating Richard nearly to death. Emotions are raw and painful but the story is a powerful and life-affirming look at what it means to grow up as your life is ending.--Alissa Lauzon 4Q 4P S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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