THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY by Shaun David Hutchinson
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.
Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.
Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.
But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.
But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
If anyone knows the “bookish” side of my life by just a little bit, they know that We are the Ants (also by Hutchinson) was my favorite book of 2016 and is also my favorite book of all time. So anyone could easily assume that I would automatically turn to the other books by the same author because I would obviously want to experience more of his writing.
Well…actually, I was a little hesitant going into another one of Hutchinson’s books. I was so scared to read another book by him because I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to We are the Ants and therefore, I was worried that my opinion of Hutchison would be tarnished if it wasn’t as good as Ants. Well… Andrew Brawley wasn’t AS good as Ants but I’m happy to say that they are pretty dang close.
Normally, when writing reviews I talk about what I liked and what I didn’t particularly enjoy about the book, but I don’t really have anything bad to say about this book so warning: this is going to be a gush fest. Is that a word? Probably not.
I loved EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in this book. They were so diverse, witty and funny. They all had a reason to be in the story. Shaun didn’t just add them to fill pages, he included them in the story because they had a purpose.
If I HAD to pick my favorite character (which is harder than you would think), I think my favorite character was the main character, Andrew. Which, yeah, I know, it’s kind of a cop-out answer but Andrew is SUCH an amazing character. I identified with a lot of the aspects that make him, him.
This book has one of the most original plots I’ve ever read. It’s about a boy secretly LIVING in a hospital. PALEASEEE tell me where you’ve seen a plot like that before.
Can’t think of one? That’s because this shiz is original.
How it dealt with the topics
This book deals with tons of tough topics and it’s done so well.
Hutchinson didn’t sugarcoat these issues, he dealt with these in a way where you could really feel emotions and the heartbreak that these emotions brought to Andrew’s life, as well as the other people in his life.
This wasn’t a coming out story
Usually when a novel has a main character that is gay or is on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum in general, the book usually focuses on the character coming out, but this book follows Andrew who is already out, which was a nice change of pace for me.
So…yeah, GO CHECK OUT THIS BOOK! Not until you read We are the Ants of course 😉
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