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Other Breakable Things


Other Breakable Things

Luc Argent is dying. He doesn’t necessarily want to die, but after years and years of medical care and no cure in sight, he’s ready to go. So when his sort-of best friend Evelyn shows up in town for the first time in three years, it complicates things. Evelyn doesn’t know anything about Luc’s health except that during their freshman year he was in the hospital for a bit. She’s in her own crisis with her family and Luc sees it. He was already planning to go up to Oregon, a state where terminally ill people can receive a medical suicide, and since it seems like Evelyn is looking for a place to escape anyway, he invites her along --- except she doesn’t know why he wants to go to Oregon. As they get further along in their trip, both Luc and Evelyn learn a thing or two about life, especially when death is at the door.

It’s been about one day since I finished OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS and I have a lot of mixed feelings. It was written by a married couple, Kelley York and Rowan Altwood. Kelley is well known in the YA community but this is Rowan’s debut, which I think is pretty cool. However, since I have a disability and reside in Oregon, I have some opinions on the story itself.

"I struggled a little bit with the believability of Luc and Evelyn’s relationship. Obviously, they fall in love but I couldn’t understand why."

Does this story sound familiar? It’s because it is. Time and time again, there have been stories in YA about the sick (or disabled) teen meeting the able-bodied teen and falling in love. I think it started with A WALK TO REMEMBER by Nicholas Sparks, reached its height with THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green, and most recently with EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon. Now, I’ve read all of those books and they’re all great, but as a teen with a disability it’s getting tiring when the only time I see someone like me in YA, they’re dying and because of that reason they have an epic love story. It was also a little disheartening to see that as far as I could tell (and I tried to look it up), neither of the authors have disabilities.

Let me go over Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, which offers a medically assisted suicide to terminally ill patients. This is not something that Oregon just gives out. There are countless tests determining the physical and emotional health of the person seeking the act that happen over months or years. You also have to be over 18 and a resident of Oregon. That being said, Luc could’ve never received any help (legally) from the state of Oregon. Yet, this book did bring up the very valid idea that people with disabilities also struggle with things like suicide. I’ve run into the problem that it’s assumed that people with disabilities don’t deal with depression, while in reality they are at a much higher risk of developing it.

I struggled a little bit with the believability of Luc and Evelyn’s relationship. Obviously, they fall in love but I couldn’t understand why. Every time they talked about why they liked each other, it was about their hair or eyes or the way they looked when they thought. It didn’t feel like there was enough for them to be in love. Within two days, they went from not talking to being in love with each other.

Lastly, as from looking at the cover, OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS has the recurring theme of origami, specifically the Japanese legend that if you fold a thousand cranes healing will be granted. Yet the actual history and culture of the Japanese legend is never mentioned and only used as a plot device. I’m not saying the authors had to delve into a 10 page history lesson, but it would’ve been nice for the culture to be acknowledged somewhere in the book.

Reviewed by Reanna H., Teen Board Member on April 18, 2017

Other Breakable Things
by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

  • Publication Date: April 4, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Entangled: Teen
  • ISBN-10: 1633755940
  • ISBN-13: 9781633755949