'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Review: Sick Bay

It’s easy to walk down a hallway and make assumptions about someone.

We have no idea what’s going on in other people's lives, if they’re having a bad day, if they’re struggling through hard times and challenges.

Meg and Riley are both keeping secrets about their lives from the people around them. 

Both are walking the hallway with classmates having no idea about the things they must deal with.

Two very different girls — the same age but with different friends — who probably never would have interacted much at all. 

And then they both end up in sick bay at the same time, and things change.

Sick bay is a very different place for each of them. Meg is going through things at home and needs somewhere to escape. Riley has diabetes and has to go there at times to manage her condition. 

At first they think they have nothing in common, but as they get to know each other, they learn that while their struggles are different, they have more in common then they thought. The learnt they are both trying to discover who they are and who they want to be.

Sick Bay is a story if friendship, courage and life. The plot is gritty, complex and so, so real. This is the kind of book kids can really see themselves in. They will connect with the struggles, understand the challenges and relate to the characters on a deep, deep level. 

This book is all about the characters — their feelings and thoughts, actions and reactions — and to say Nova Weetman brings Meg and Riley to life on the page is an understatement. 

Weetman doesn’t shy away from the real and raw emotions and situations kids experience. It’s all in here: crushes, friendship battles, family struggles, disability, sickness, school pressures.

This really is a story about life and everything it entails from a 12-year-old’s perspective. But at its heart, for me, the story is about discovering your identity and finding the courage to stand up for what you believe in. This isn’t an easy thing to do, and I love that the story shines a light on the benefits of following your heart/soul/gut instead of following the crowd. 

This is the perfect book for young girls on the verge of becoming young adults — a novel to reassure them that the chaos is normal and there are solutions to every problem.

Title: Sick Bay
Author: Nova Weetman
Publisher: UQP, $16.95
Publication Date: 4 June 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 7022 6032 2
For ages: 11+
Type: Middle Fiction, Young Adult Fiction