It's a funny, witty, yet heart-rending and warm coming-of-age story that puts you inside the head of thirteen-year old Jeffrey, a high school student, who seems just like any other kid. He loves to play drums, has a crush on the hottest girl in school (who is unaware of his existence) and also has the most annoying little brother. When the little brother gets cancer, Jeffrey's world is turned upside-down. How he copes with it all, and how the illness affects the whole family, is a story in itself, but not a grim one. In the book's afterword, the author writes that a lot of people thought he was nuts to write a funny cancer novel, but he says he had to: "I think one of the best and noblest things about a human being is that we can find laughter anywhere. We just sometimes forget to look. "This book works because it has so much so say on so many levels: the dialogue is realistic, sharp, funny and honest, the characters well-drawn, the plot fast-moving, and the ending-well, I won't spoil it except to say it will renew your faith in humanity.
Recommended by Betsy Schroeder