Friday, October 6, 2023

Today's read... One in a Million by Claire Lordon

Today's read takes on more serious tones and explores the experiences of a girl, who is diagnosed with a rarer disease for the age group. It takes on a graphic novel form and promises to offer more than a little food for thought. Based on the author's own experience, it should hold quite a bit of depth. So, settled down into a comfy chair because this one is a read for those cooler, upcoming nights.

by Claire Lordon
Candlewick Press
Middle Grade Contemporary / Graphic Novel
272 pages
ages 9 and up

OCTOBER 10th!!!

Debut graphic novelist Claire Lordon’s medical misfortunes may be one in a million in this relatable memoir, but so is her determination, grit, and passion to beat the odds and reclaim her life.

Something is wrong with Claire, but she doesn’t know what. Nobody does, not even her doctors. All she wants is to return to her happy and athletic teenage self. But her accumulating symptoms—chronic fatigue, pounding headaches, weight gain—hint that there’s something not right inside Claire’s body. Claire’s high school experience becomes filled with MRIs, visits to the Mayo Clinic, and multiple surgeries to remove a brain tumor. But even in her most difficult moments battling chronic illness, Claire manages to find solace in her family, her closest friends, and her art. A deeply personal and visually arresting memoir that draws on the author’s high school diaries and drawings, One in a Million is also a sophisticated portrayal of pain, depression, and fear that any teen or adult can relate to. With a sensitive preface and an author’s note connecting past to present, this true story of resilience strikes a moving balance between raw honesty in the face of medical and mental trauma and the everyday musings of a teenager.

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This is a read, which touches the heart, pulls at the gut, and awakens awareness at the same time...oh, and is entertaining as well.

Claire's life has been a bumpy ride for years thanks to constant symptoms, which never seem to bring a true diagnosis. Not only the continual parade of doctor visits, tests and hospitalizations take their toll on her physically, but her mental state isn't any better. While life becomes a struggle and depression threatens to tug Claire down, there are rays of hope, too.

The author's choice to head in the graphic novel direction with this story was a good one. The graphics are simple and yet, bring across the scenes in just the right way. More on this end would have been less, and yet, the graphics bring the perfect hint of lightness to keep this theme from dragging down too much. This form makes the tale and topic more accessible, while keeping it potent at the same time.

Claire faces realistic struggles, and her thoughts, actions, and emotions are easy to connect with, especially for teens. She has doubts, darker moments, and difficult problems to deal with. All of this comes across realistically and offers food for thought. But Claire is not alone. Her family's support is inspiring as well as that from a few friends. It creates a healthy foundation for the ray of needed hope as the troubles mount. Plus, this opens the eyes to Cushing's disease and promotes its awareness.

I see this as a great edition to school libraries and believe that especially young adult readers will find themselves drawn into this read.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad there are rays of hope during the hard times. This sounds like a story a lot of kids could relate to. Sadly, too many suffer with serious childhood illnesses.