Two Girls Staring At The Ceiling; Lucy Frank. 257 pages.
FROM THE BOOK JACKET:
This raw and gorgeous novel in verse will plunge you into the precarious world of illness, where summer love seems like a distant memory and the future is anything but certain.
I like how this book is formatted. It’s a bit wider than usual to make room for two columns of text, separated by a line that acts as the hospital room curtain. On the left side is the main narrator, Chess. On the right is Shannon, who only shows up when conversing with Chess or when other people are talking on her side of the room. There are instructions on how to read the story at the beginning of the book, but it’s not too complicated and it’s a cool concept.
Chess doesn’t know what’s wrong with her. All she knows is that she’s been having stomach pain and has covered it up for a long time until she has a severe episode and is admitted to the hospital. Shannon has the same thing Chess does, but has suffered longer. I guessed what was wrong early ish on (it runs in my family), but readers don’t truly find out until about halfway through. This isn’t a huge spoiler (I hope - but stop reading until the next paragraph if you don’t want to know what her issue isn’t), but this book is so refreshing because it’s not about cancer. Sure these girls are sick, but there aren’t any/a lot of book who focus on this topic. I really like that.
It’s also a book wrought with emotion, because Chess is so angry, and Shannon is even angrier. It has notes of despair and melancholy because Chess has to come to terms with her diagnosis. She’s also embarrassed, which is very relatable. This book is a quick read, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking.