Cancer does not discriminate. It takes the young and old, the rich and the poor, anyone from any background or part of the world. It always seems tragic when cancer strikes the young, and the parents of young children. Cancer is at the center of Calla Devlin’s story, Tell Me Something Real. Vanessa and her two sisters are incredibly close, and their family was rocked when their mother was diagnosed with cancer. They are brought even closer together, working to take care of each other, and their father who was already grieving. They are also being pulled in many different directions, physically and emotionally, as they are frequently helping their mother to and from her constant doctors visits and cancer treatments.
The middle of the book drops a big bombshell, one that came completely out of the blue. Mentioning anything about it will certainly ruin the story – and it’s such a good one!! It changes the trajectory of the book, and it changes the trajectory of this family’s life. As Vanessa and her older sister grow, they are close to leaving the house for good. Yet, at the same time, they seem to have never been closer. Adrienne, the oldest girl, might be going away to college soon, and Vanessa really wants to go to a conservatory and play the piano. In chasing this dream, she begins to move on. Physically and emotionally. Their younger sister Marie remains, and seems unable to cope with even the thought of her two older sisters leaving.
I lost my father to cancer almost 6 years ago, so parts of the story seem so familiar. Watching him struggle, and continue to decline before his death was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. These three sisters have each other, and their dad, and this helps them to cope. There is no real healing in the story – either for their mom, or for the girls. Yet they carry on. I admire their bravery, and I am jealous of their closeness – this sisterly bond they have is unbreakable. This is such a great story – and I was surprised by a YA book that wasn’t driven by romance!
Enjoy and happy reading!