Sick Kids in Love, by Hannah Moskowitz
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Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Length: 300 pages
Times Read: Once
Isabel has one rule: no dating.
–for the other person.
She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis.
But then she meets another sick kid.
He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor.
He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.
Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It’s never felt better–
–to consider breaking that rule for him.
‘They don’t die in this one’ is the tagline and if that doesn’t make you want to read it I don’t know what will.
♥ I tend to not read book descriptions too closely before I pick them up, because I like to go in not knowing much. So I didn’t realize this was going to be an #ownvoices book for me until I started reading. Because just like these kids, I’ve got a chronic illness. And reading about two teenagers living with chronic illness in high school was both totally heartbreaking and completely inspiring.
Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis and Sasha has Gaucher Disease. Hers, like mine, is invisible. His isn’t. There is so much subtly in the descriptions of each of their illnesses, in the way that both of them are treated. When Sasha is sick, every one can tell. His bones break easily, his organs shut down, he ends up on oxygen, in the hospital. But Isabel? She suffers in silence, all alone. And girl…I feel you.
Doctors tell her that she’s healthy when she feels anything but. I SO know this feeling–I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 8 years ago, after years of no one taking me seriously. But having an official diagnosis doesn’t necessarily change anything. There are plenty of people out there who don’t believe what I have is real, there are even doctors who still don’t believe it’s real. People believe that Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis, but they can’t see how her bones ache. They can’t see how exhausting it can be for those of us with chronic illness to just get out of bed sometimes, to just exist. Sometimes, living with fibro means I have great days and can run a half marathon even though I forgot my inhaler and my water. Sometimes, it means feeding the dogs and brushing my teeth is so tiring that I gotta go back to sleep for awhile.
And of course there’s also the question of how much of this is because Isabel is a girl and Sasha is a guy. Do the doctors automatically take him more seriously while discounting her? Probably. Is that completely infuriating and also what happens to women everywhere, all the time? Totally.
“You can’t live like that. There’s only so much you can carry quietly by yourself, so you turn an illness into a list of rules instead of a list of symptoms, and you take pills that don’t help, and you do the stretches, and you think instead of feeling. You think.”
When I read this quote, my soul was full for the time in forever.
♥ Things haven’t been easy for Isabel. She’s in pain often, and things that many people consider “normal” (walking more than a block, taking the stairs), are hard for her. But her friends still ask her to participate in things like ski trips, and she still says yes because she doesn’t want to be a problem.
And BOY do I understand that! When you have an invisible illness and look healthy, the idea of owning your pain, of knowing you deserve to take up space and say no, say that you’re hurting too much, speak your absolute truth? That’s terrifying. When you know that your family and friends think you’re in better shape than you really are, it’s a hard thing to tell them that no, actually, you’re not.
Isabel is so busy making her father and friends believe she’s doing well, so busy writing her school’s advice column, that she doesn’t like to think about her mom or why she finds herself in a single-parent household now very often. But there’s definite trauma there that she’s dealing with.
I got tickets to see Hamilton in March FINALLY, I expect it to be the best night of my life.
♥ IT’S SASHA TIME YAY! Sasha is wonderful. He’s a total dork, he falls in love fast, he’s sweet even when he’s sick and in the hospital, and so very caring even when Isabel doesn’t know how to receive it.
“Don’t…take notes on me.”
“Yes, God forbid I keep track of what you need.”
Isabel has no plans to get into a relationship, but she can’t resist Sasha’s charms and sparkling personality. Before she knows it, they’re starting to spend more and more time together, becoming really close friends who understand each other in a way no one else can.
“You know what will be fun?”
“When we can stop pretending that we’re interesting people who go out and do things and instead we can hang out and just do nothing.”
It’s incredible to hear those words out of someone’s mouth besides mine. Not that I’ve ever said them, actually. Who would I say them to?
“That sounds amazing,” I say.
TBH, this sounds amazing to me too. And for all you kids out there, once you are Old like me, staying home and doing nothing will be all you want to do in the world.
No one gets me like John Mulaney.
I won’t spoil the when and the how of their full relationship, but it 100% adorable and 100% amazing. Sasha gets her, even when she tries to deny her feelings so she won’t end up hurting him.
“This isn’t working,” he whispers. “You’re not scaring me away.”
“We are here, we are here, we are here.”
“His dimples are a goddamn nightmare.”
“You think I’m going to think it’s weird that you dreamed about being sick? Honey, nobody took care of you. Why would you have dreamed about anything else?”
“I can’t believe this conversation is happening. It’s like I’ve stepped into some alternate dimension where people talk about things.”