Reviews for Regine's Book : A Teen Girl's Last Words


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
"Face your fear. Accept your war." Seventeen-year-old Regine began a blog to document and share her experience after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. Selections from her posts are occasionally supplemented with comments left by the supportive and adoring followers of her 15-month journey. Her writing is honest and raw, insightful and inspiring. While her moods swing with the course of her treatment and relapses, her outlook remains steadfastly positive throughout all but the most difficult days. The entries include medical details, physical changes, the reactions of family and friends, and Regine's own search for understanding and acceptance of a world-changing diagnosis. Her obsession with rock music and attending concerts saturates the text as it does her short life, and her original poems and artistic photographs add extra dimension to what is sure to be an inspiring read for a new audience for this moving title that was originally published in Regine's Norway. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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ForeWord Clarion Reviews 2012 December

"I've decided to start a blog about what it's like to get a life-threatening disease." With these words, seventeen-year-old Norwegian Regine Stokke opens her heart and mind to the world as she shares her battle with a rare and aggressive strain of leukemia. Unflinchingly honest, Regine's Book is a moving account that will resonate with readers of all ages.



Regine's Book is not simply a personal diary. Regine chose to write blog entries for the public to read, and the editors have chosen to republish not just the entries, but a number of the comments from readers. Also included are guest blogger entries, Regine's artwork and photography, plus photos of and sections written by Regine's closest friends and family members. The result is something very different than a diary or even memoir.



While all of the additional content helps connect us to Regine and her journey, the comments are particularly significant. When her blog readers confess that they've donated blood (a cause which Regine championed), read an article about her in a local newspaper, or cried when they heard her bad news, readers can see first-hand the kind of impact Regine's story was having on all of Norway.



The heart of this book, however, lies in Regine's heartbreakingly honest and vivid emotions. The teenager's struggle to come to terms with her disease is not as linear as some may think. She doesn't simply hope for the best or peacefully accept her fate. Rather, she goes through complex emotions, one day feeling hopeful, the next struggling to "accept her war," as she says, and the next feeling resentful. Regine does not pretend to be optimistic for the sake of her readers. She instead presents them with the gravity of her situation, which, in turn, allows readers to more fully appreciate and respect Regine's determination and will to live.



Such a talented, engaging young person with such a dire prognosis does make for a difficult read, but the book doesn't feel cliched or overly melancholy. Instead, readers connect with and learn from Regine. They'll cheer with her when she makes it to music festivals, ache when she is in pain, and, most significantly, challenge themselves to understand what she is truly going through.



A Junior Library Guild Selection, Regine's Book is a simultaneously poignant and inspiring read, and the young woman's story is one that will have a lasting effect.


2012 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

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ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2013 - Spring Issue: March 1, 2013

"I've decided to start a blog about what it's like to get a life-threatening disease." With these words, seventeen-year-old Norwegian Regine Stokke opens her heart and mind to the world as she shares her battle with a rare and aggressive strain of leukemia. Unflinchingly honest, Regine's Book is a moving account that will resonate with readers of all ages.



Regine's Book is not simply a personal diary. Regine chose to write blog entries for the public to read, and the editors have chosen to republish not just the entries, but a number of the comments from readers. Also included are guest blogger entries, Regine's artwork and photography, plus photos of and sections written by Regine's closest friends and family members. The result is something very different than a diary or even memoir.



While all of the additional content helps connect us to Regine and her journey, the comments are particularly significant. When her blog readers confess that they've donated blood (a cause which Regine championed), read an article about her in a local newspaper, or cried when they heard her bad news, readers can see first-hand the kind of impact Regine's story was having on all of Norway.



The heart of this book, however, lies in Regine's heartbreakingly honest and vivid emotions. The teenager's struggle to come to terms with her disease is not as linear as some may think. She doesn't simply hope for the best or peacefully accept her fate. Rather, she goes through complex emotions, one day feeling hopeful, the next struggling to "accept her war," as she says, and the next feeling resentful. Regine does not pretend to be optimistic for the sake of her readers. She instead presents them with the gravity of her situation, which, in turn, allows readers to more fully appreciate and respect Regine's determination and will to live.



Such a talented, engaging young person with such a dire prognosis does make for a difficult read, but the book doesn't feel cliched or overly melancholy. Instead, readers connect with and learn from Regine. They'll cheer with her when she makes it to music festivals, ache when she is in pain, and, most significantly, challenge themselves to understand what she is truly going through.



A Junior Library Guild Selection, Regine's Book is a simultaneously poignant and inspiring read, and the young woman's story is one that will have a lasting effect.


2012 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
"My ultimate dream for this blog is that it will be published as a book after my death," wrote Norwegian teenager Stokke, who blogged about her experience living with leukemia. Regine's blog, which became popular in Norway, was first published as a book by a Norwegian press in 2009 and is here translated into English. In direct, emotionally open prose, Regine describes the details of cancer treatment, her optimism and frustrations, her excitement about rock music, and her relationships with friends and family. Regine's photographs, from self-portraits to nature shots to pictures of rock stars, are printed in full color, sometimes overlaid with song lyrics or original poetry. Her blog posts begin in fall 2008 and end with "The Last Autumn" of 2009, with concluding remarks from friends and loved ones in the final "After Regine" section. Regine's voice is matter-of-fact and honest, with a tone that is occasionally raw ("I wish someone other than me had gotten this cancer instead"). Selections from the blog's many comments, which appear after some of the posts, sometimes become repetitious, but the posts themselves are brief and varied enough to stay engaging. Short, accessible footnotes provide context for readers unfamiliar with cancer treatment or Norwegian culture. A heartfelt and visually appealing window into Regine's last year. (Nonfiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #2

In 2008, 17-year-old Stokke was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, and fatal form of leukemia. Stokke's blog, a detailed account of her life before and after the diagnosis, drew many readers in her native Norway and became a bestseller in book form, published shortly after her death in late 2009. Stokke's emotional 15-month journey offers candid descriptions of endless cycles of chemotherapy, her physical pain, and frustrations ("It's incredibly tough to experience defeat after defeat," she writes. "When will all this stop?"), as well as accounts of happier moments, including attending concerts and spending time with friends and family. Stokke's photography and poetry appear throughout, and her blog entries are contextualized by footnotes explaining key details about leukemia, its treatment, and Norwegian life. Supportive notes from Stokke's family members and blog readers are also included, but it's Stokke's openness and honesty that are the chief draw; readers will feel as though they have truly come to know her. While there can be a repetitiveness to both the entries and the supplemental commentary, it's a rare, valuable window into life with a terminal illness. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)¦

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 December

Gr 8 Up--At age 17, Stokke was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Once the initial shock of diagnosis wore off, she was drawn to blogging as a way to document how she was living with the disease. With a moving and honest voice, she takes readers along on her journey from diagnosis to despair to acceptance. Original photos, artwork, and poetry capture her fluctuating state of mind through the course of the memoir. Her straight talk about her dire situation inspired many fellow Norwegians to become blood and bone-marrow donors and raised awareness of the need to support and engage those living with terminal illnesses. Although the inclusion of hundreds of blog entries does result in a lengthy text, readers will find themselves rooting for Regine until the end.--Colleen S. Banick, Westport Public Schools, CT

[Page 141]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2012 October
Confronting a terminal diagnosis is an unfathomable concept for most individuals.   Doing so at a young age is even more mind blowing.  Regine Stokke was seventeen when she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a form of leukemia.  At the time of the diagnosis, she was a typical teenage girl: artistic, dramatic, swept up in her friends and typical teenage interests, not at all thinking of the finality of life.  When she was diagnosed, her world suddenly turned inside-out.  An avid writer and photographer, she decided to start a blog about her journey with her disease as a coping mechanism.  Her blog quickly garnered nationwide attention in Norway as readers began to follow her roller-coaster ride through bone marrow biopsies, chemotherapy, blood poisoning, infections, brief improvements, relapse, and, finally, death.  At an age when mortality was the last thing on her mind, Regine had to come to terms with the end of her life.  She was not religious, and had no concrete notion what existed beyond life's end.  Instead, she focused on the present throughout most of her blog.  The attention her blog received raised support for others suffering from her disease and other forms of cancer, and sparked an increase in bone marrow donors.  Her photography was noticed and exhibited on Facebook with proceeds going towards cancer treatment.  Aside from all of her accomplishments, what makes her blog exceptional is her tenacity and unbelievable maturity.  Dying is honorable by its very nature and mystery.  Regine deserves honor for her tenacity and maturity in the face of extraordinary suffering.  Her blog proclaims the importance of living and appreciating life at a time when very few do.  Her reflections on life itself are astounding and educational.  There is no tale of end-of-life romance or melodrama in Regine's memoir, just an honest portrayal of a child struggling to come to terms with something every human being will one day face.   What makes her memoir so valuable is the message that she keeps coming back to… "Face your fear.  Accept your war.  It is what it is." In other words..."Live."--Victoria Vogel 5Q 4P M S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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