Thursday, July 5, 2018

Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder

Title: Letting Go of Gravity
Author: Meg Leder
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: July 17, 2018
Pages: 432
Source/format: e-ARC//Publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):  Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.

Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.

Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.

Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.

And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got leukemia. Parker didn’t.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.

M Y  T H O U G H T S 

"What would it be like to do something not because you had to, but just because you wanted to?"

Letting Go of Gravity starts with a story of a gravity girl and a helium girl that grandma used to tell twins Charlie McCullough and Parker McCullough. This story represented Charlie who wants to fly and Parker who won't let go.

Parker is Harvard bound and she's the valedictorian of her class. After learning Charlie has Leukemia, Parker wants to be a pediatric oncologist. She has a prestigious internship for the summer at a local hospital. Charlie, on the other hand, has to repeat senior year again due to missing school when he was in the hospital for Leukemia. He is currently in remission. However, the sibling relationship between Charlie and Parker has been strained ever since the twins started arguing over everything.

Meg Leder gives a glimpse how a serious illness can impact loved ones. Parker is scared bout Charlie getting sick again and possibly dying. There are a couple of scenes in the book where Parker has a panic attack about whether she can handle what life throws at her. Fortunately, her best friend Em always supports here and is always there for her. When Em moves to college, Parker befriends Ruby Collie from Float and reconnects with former childhood classmate Finn Casper.

I found it refreshing when Parker decides not to attend her internship. Just because she is the valedictorian, she is far from perfect. She can make mistakes or change her mind about stuff and her anxiety takes a form of its own. When she doesn't want to be a doctor anymore, it wasn't until she talks to Finn that she decides she needs to follow her heart. She decides to take Finn's suggestion and applies to a job at Trina's Ceramics. Parker can finally breathe and it feels like a weight is lifted off her shoulders at her new job. Creativity runs in Parker's veins even if she doesn't know it. Finn finds solace in street art as he paints amazing messages around the city. Parker and Finn starts to connect with what makes them happy.

Leder writes with sincerity. Her book is realistic and she knows how teens think to how they act to what they say. The pressure that society has on them can be unbearable and sometimes it's hard to convey what they think and feel to adults. Parker finds meaningful friendships with Ruby and Finn. She needs friends who knows what she was going through. By the end of the book, Parker finds her wings to fly!

Although the novel is fairly long for a contemporary, Letting Go of Gravity is emotionally gripping and relatable. The novel addresses how someone copes with a loved one being ill, how to manage anxiety and how one gains the strength to be honest not only with themselves but with the world. If you enjoy reading books such as The Museum of Heartbreak, The Start of Me and You and Emmy & Oliver, you will love Letting Go of Gravity.

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