Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Alex Lyttle
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
After moving to what seems like the middle of nowhere, Cal is stuck with no one to play with except his six-year-old brother, Sammy. He can get Sammy to do almost anything by promising him a level in the system that he made up, promoting his brother from Ant to higher levels, with Sammy hoping to reach the Eagle status that his brother has. When a new girl, Aleta, moves in, Cal starts spending more time with her and less time with Sammy. Meanwhile, Sammy starts getting sick. Once school starts, they find out that Sammy has cancer. After that, life starts falling apart. Cal is worried constantly for Sammy, his parents start fighting, and he starts distancing himself from Aleta. After a long battle with cancer, Sammy passes away. Cal finds that even though it is hard and sad, with the help of his family and friends, they are going to be able to get through this together.
A heartbreaking tale of a young boy who loses his brother to cancer, this book is emotional and powerful. This is a contemporary realistic fiction piece that strives to tell the true stories of many families that experience this type of grief. It doesn’t sugar coat and shows the terrible realities of cancer, both for the patient and family. The author is a pediatrician who works in the oncology unit and sees situations like this every day. While Sammy and Cal are not based on any specific individuals, they represent a combination of many experiences Lyttle has witnessed. This story addresses themes of love, family, and friendship, as well as sometimes difficult topics of grief and death. It does not falsely promise that everything will be okay in our limited definition of the word, but rather that by loving and supporting one another, people can get through it, hard as it may be. A beautiful, touching story of the love between two brothers, From Ant to Eagle is worth the read.