Reviewed by Angeline B. Adams
What happened to Chess was so physically and emotionally distressing that she can’t even bring herself to share it with the reader, but it spurred her hospital admission and diagnosis with Crohn’s disease, a chronic illness affecting her digestive system. Her mum, determinedly upbeat, gets busy telling everyone they know the news, faster than Chess can absorb it herself. When friends visit, they pointedly look away from her naso-gastric tube and other medical paraphernalia. The only person who might understand what Chess is going through is Shannon, the girl in the next bed, who is as loudly and fiercely assertive as Chess is withdrawn and overwhelmed. Can they find common ground and support each other? Continue reading.
Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank
Published by Random House Children's Books on 2014
Genres: Disabilities, Education, Family, Friendship
Reading Level: Grades 6-8, High School
Review Source: Disabilities in Kid Lit
Publisher's synopsis: This novel-in-verse--at once literary and emotionally gripping--follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital room and an illness.
Chess, the narrator, is sick, but with what exactly, she isn't sure. And to make matters worse, she must share a hospital room with Shannon, her polar opposite. Where Chess is polite, Shannon is rude. Where Chess tolerates pain silently, Shannon screams bloody murder. Where Chess seems to be getting slowly better, Shannon seems to be getting worse. How these teenagers become friends, helping each other come to terms with their illness, makes for a dramatic and deeply moving read.
"An emotional and innovative novel.... There is so much pathos and humor in these two hospital beds." --E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars
"A story told with the utmost economy of language--intense, compelling, and satisfying." --Susan Patron, author of the Newbery Medal winner The Higher Power of Lucky
"Riveting, humanizing and real." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"A raw, unsentimental perspective on the fight to keep an illness from overpowering one's identity." --Publishers Weekly