Title: THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 61,000
When fifteen-year-old former ballerina, Alice is diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia her prognosis is grim, at best. So, Alice makes a list of things to do and people to ruin. After manipulating her kind-hearted best friend, Harvey, into helping her, Alice sabotages the school play, humiliates her ex-boyfriend, and rescues a tiny terror of a Pomeranian. Together as they complete the list, Alice and Harvey explore the highs and lows of their ever-changing, and at times toxic, lifelong relationship as well as the grey area between just friends and more than friends.
All of Alice’s scores are settled— until she goes into remission. Now, a year later, and very much alive, Alice must face the legacy she left behind and live in the shadow of all that she’s said and done, including her true feelings for Harvey.
Told at different intervals, and from the perspectives of both Alice and Harvey, THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS chronicles what happens when Alice says her final words, only to find that life isn’t through with her yet. With a full cast of multidimensional characters and a weaving plot, THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS will interest readers of Jenny Han’s SUMMER series and fans of the motion picture MEAN GIRLS.
Before I could stop myself, I reached for my hair, my fingers smoothing over my naked scalp. Gone, it was all gone. Even now, almost a year later, it still came as a shock. I did this several times a day, like clockwork. It felt like a phantom limb, my hair.
My oncologist for the last year or so, Dr. Meredith, bustled through his office door. Noise from the hallway bled through for just a moment, before the door shut behind him, sealing us in. My mom drummed her fingers on her leg, a nervous habit. Dad reached over and took her hand in his, absorbing her tension.
Dr. Meredith was a large, robust man, and jolly too, with rosy cheeks and this perpetual baby powder smell. I always thought he would be better suited as a Santa Claus at the Green Oaks Mall rather than a doctor charged with the duty of delivering earth-shattering news. Maybe his appearance was supposed to soften the blow. The bad news is you have cancer. The good news is Santa Claus is your doctor. Peppermint stick for your trouble?
I’d always had this strange affinity for fat doctors. I wondered if they got on their scales every morning, shook their fists at death, and said, “Ha! Still fat and still breathing, suckers!” But, seriously, they knew how very possible it was to just die. At any moment and for no reason. Death did not discriminate. Death did not see age or cholesterol or workout regimens. Death saw time, and my time was just about up.