Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gibson, Marley. Radiate.

Gibson, Marley.   Radiate.    Houghton Mifflin/Graphia      403p  $8.99
978-0-547-61728-2             VG    Realistic fiction

Hayley Matthews expects to enjoy a stellar senior year.  She made the varsity cheerleading squad and has a hot boyfriend on the football team.  When Hayley is diagnosed with cancer, she nonchalantly assumes that she’ll receive treatment and be back to her regular routine before school starts.  Unfortunately, it is more complicated than that.

Hayley finds herself in the hospital for a lengthy period of time due to surgeries
and chemo/radiation treatments.  Relentlessly cheerful, she is determined to return to school and cheerleading.  High school is challenging under normal circumstances, but Hayley handles AP classes, adjusting to being an amputee, baldness, and cheering while maintaining a positive attitude and facing everything that is thrown at her head-on.

Hayley is so strong and inspiring she is an almost unbelievable character.  It takes her quite some time to realize how serious her health issues are, that her family’s finances are about to collapse, and that her parents have been shielding her from her sister’s dark secrets.  She is obsessed with cheerleading.  More believable is her boyfriend, who bails on Hayley when chemo leaves her bald, and the incredibly calloused cheer
leading captain who wants to cut Hayley from the squad when it is apparent that she is seriously ill.

Marley Gibson is uniquely qualified to write the story of Hayley Matthews, a varsity cheerleader who is diagnosed with cancer and must amputate a leg in order to live.  Gibson was also a high-school cheerleader who survived her bout with cancer.  Radiate is a fictionalized telling of Gibson’s own experiences.

Cancer – Fiction, Cheerleading – Fiction              -- Hilary Welliver     

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