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Anthem for Jackson Dawes


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Two teenagers fight the biggest battle of all. For fans of Meg Rosoff and Jenny Downham

About the Author

Celia Bryce was born and raised in Jarrow and still lives on Tyneside. She is a teacher of creative writing, writes for the stage and radio and performs in schools, and also fronts a country rock band, The Katy Freeway. Anthem for Jackson Dawes is her first novel.


After 13-year-old Megan Bright is diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, she's prescribed chemotherapy followed by an operation. Megan is determined to have everything remain as normal as possible during her time in the hospital; her chief concerns are losing her spot on the soccer team and possibly her hair. While stuck in the pediatric wing of the hospital (much to her annoyance), Megan gets closer to the only other teenager there-mischievous, dashing Jackson Dawes-and begins to acknowledge the emotions she's been keeping buried. Initially, Jackson rubs her the wrong way, but his positivity and determined interest in Megan teach her about optimism and taking control of what she can. Megan's developing relationships with Jackson and a six-year-old patient named Kipper lend emotional gravity to British author Bryce's debut. It's a quiet story, but one that effectively portrays the sudden distance from one's own life that disease and tragedy can create. "It was like being stuck between two worlds," Megan reflects, "not knowing how to get back, not knowing which one to choose. Not wanting either." Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gr 6-9-When 13-year-old Megan Bright meets Jackson Dawes on the pediatric cancer ward, she doesn't immediately appreciate his confidence and outgoing nature. However, there is something irresistible about him-his energy and good humor bring smiles to the faces of many of the younger patients. Jackson has struggled with cancer for a while, and as the only other teenager on the ward, he is there for Megan, helping her navigate the emotional and physical trauma that comes with illness. Between chemotherapy treatments, both teens return home; however, resuming normal life is difficult for Megan. She elects not to share her feelings with her best friend or her parents. She misses having someone who understands exactly what she is experiencing. As she struggles with the inherent unfairness that some people live long healthy lives while others do not, she gains comfort and strength from the memories of her friendship with Jackson. Sensitive and honest, this novel addresses meaningful questions concerning mortality and soul searching, and its content is appropriate for younger teens.-Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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