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Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.
Until Polina arrives.
She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.
She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.
This program features a bonus interview with the author.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Angela Dieckman on 08-20-16
Heartbreaking yet hilarious
This is a heartbreaking yet, at times, hilarious story that is probably more real than we know. The main character, Ivan, is wicked smart, sarcastic, and riddled with fears (as he should be living institutionalized his whole life). Yet, so many of his fears are common to life and growing up. His description of life in the hospital and the other residents were horrifying and hilarious, reminding us that sometimes things are so bad you have to laugh. My only criticism of this book is that I don't think a whole, prolonged scene about oral sex is appropriate material for a young adult book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Quino on 11-13-17
1932 Movie "Freaks" but with a Acerbic Narrator
Ivan is a 17-year-old orphan in Belarus, and he lives in a home for kids affected by the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. While Ivan is severely deformed, he is brilliant, insightful, rude and sarcastic - and then he falls in love. This funny, dysfunctional, brilliant, beautiful coming-of-age story is both heart-breaking and heartwarming. Stop whatever you are doing right now and order this book. Trust me.
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