What if your future was just put on hold? You age, but cannot graduate, go to college, or even take your crush out on a date?
Lane Rosen, a high school senior, finds himself at Latham House, a tuberculosis sanitorium for teens, after contracting total drug-resistant TB. After painstakingly achieving second place in his graduating class, Lane finds the static pulse of Latham suffocating. He tries to continue his AP classwork, but the stress is too much for his diseased lungs. His family forgets about him, and he breaks up with his girlfriend after she writes a college admission essay about his suspected death. Reluctantly accepting that his body’s capabilities and his old life aren’t fitting into his reality, he finds a way to rebel by making a new friend group among the ill residents of Latham: Nick, an Indian boy who loves technology; Charlie, a gifted muscian; Marina, a fashion designer; and Sadie, a girl he crushed on a summer camp when they were younger and finds completely irresistible. His new relationships awaken a coming-of-age and Lane finds an extraordinary life, and love, in the last place he expected.
Note: Total drug-resistant TB supposedly does not exist currently, only multiple drug-resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB. Explores themes of sexuality and death and contains strong language, drugs, and alcohol present.
I am so surprised by how much I loved, loved, loved this book. Anyone who adores The Fault in Our Stars will find this a spectacular read-a-like, unique in perspective yet similar in themes and heartfelt love. I have a fascination with abandoned sanatoriums and found this new re-imagining of modern life, combined with the extreme seclusion and imminent possibility of either proceeding with life as normal or unexpectedly dying from tuberculosis (one of the most rampant fatal diseases of the 19th and 20th centuries) was both intriguing and heart-wrenching. In this exploration, no drug currently exists to combat the TDR tuberculosis and affected teens must be kept completely isolated from the public to allow them space to recuperate without spreading the disease.
For a fun change, I’ve added the book trailer below, and take care to listen to the perfect narration, as it quantifies the novel in a way I cannot replicate!