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Thankfully, You Can’t Catch Cancer From Kissing

Forget Holden Caufield -- what would Daniel Landon, from Sarah Collins Honenberger's Catcher, Caught, do?

Thankfully, You Can’t Catch Cancer From Kissing

BOOK REPORT for Catcher, Caught by Sarah Collins Honenberger

Cover Story: A Little Too Elementary
BFF Charm: Totes McGotes
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Plain and Simple
Bonus Factor: Houseboat
Relationship Status: Buds Til the End

Cover Story: A Little Too Elementary

This cover is kinda cute, but it's also maybe too cute. I didn't have a problem reading it in public, but it's not what you would call a grown-up cover.

The Deal:

Now, before I get into it, I feel the need to preface my synopsis with the following statement:

THIS IS NOT A NICHOLAS SPARKS BOOK.

See, the story centers around a 15-year-old kid, Daniel Solstice Landon, who has leukemia. And if you're anything like me, alarm bells go off when you see the word "cancer" in a novel summary because I REFUSE to be tricked into reading something like A Walk To Remember again. (To be fair, it was all because Mandy Moore was in the movie. The things I do for that girl!) Anyhoo, my point is, this is not a sappy love story or Powerful Inspiring Testament to the Human Spirit. It's just a book about a regular dude who unfortunately gets cancer and has to deal with how shitty that is. Further complicating matters, Daniel's parents are super duper hippies who refuse to allow Daniel to be treated with chemo and instead make him follow some kind of herbal remedy regime. Dan's main outlet for dealing with this crap is constantly re-reading Catcher in the Rye and asking himself, "What would Holden do?" Mr. Caulfield is everything Daniel wants to be-- brave, honest and rebellious-- and by following in his footsteps, Dan vows to make his last remaining months count for a lifetime.

BFF Charm: Totes McGotes

Goddamn I love that Daniel Solstice Landon. He's sweet yet dude-ish, hormonal yet sensitive, and he's a lot braver than he gives himself credit for. He's adorable, and yet he's no Pollyanna. He makes his mom cry, he fights with his brother, and he kinda self-centered. In short, he's like most teenagers, and I think that's what makes his struggle with leukemia so fascinating and amazing. All he wants to do is swim in the lake and finally have sex with a girl, but he has to deal with his deteriorating body and grieving parents. For Dan, cancer isn't the focus-- it's the pesky thing getting in the way of his focus, and I deeply admire the passion and sense of humor he employs in his attempts to overcome it.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

I should've thrown in an extra charm for Meredith, the object of Dan's lust/affection, because the girl is FIERCE. If I had read this book as a teenager, Meredith would have been my idol, since she managed to do what never came to me naturally: flirt and tan. It was easy to see why Dan fell in love with her almost immediately, because in many ways, she's a lot like Holden. She's adventurous and whimsical and clever, and she challenges Daniel to do what he wants, parents and doctors and society be damned. Their relationship is equal parts sweet and sexy, mostly due to Meredith's sass and Daniel's earnestness, and cancer is no match for their chemistry.

Talky Talk: Plain and Simple

Honenberger writes Daniel's voice in a very straight-forward, honest style. At first, I felt like she was trying a bit too hard to settle into the character, but after a chapter or two, Dan's narration felt really authentic without erring too much on either the stream-of-conscious or "I'm a teenager! SLANG SLANG SLANG!" side. I admit, I grew weary of all of the Holden references in the beginning, not because I haven't actually read Catcher (I KNOW, I KNOW. I just... don't care) but because I wanted to know more about Dan, not a J.D. Salinger character. Thankfully, Honenberger corrected herself again and used the Caulfield references more sparingly as the story progressed.

The structure of the book didn't keep it quite as simple, and I had a few issues with some of the plot twists and pacing in the book. The story is at its best when it's focused on Daniel and not, well, some other shizz that happens that I won't spoil for you.

Bonus Factor: Houseboat

What is UP with YA characters living on houseboats and making me jealous! Ok, so besides Dan, the only other one is Ruby Oliver, but still. I NEED A HOUSEBOAT. This book doesn't really glorify it-- in fact, it sounds kind of shiteous sometimes-- but there's still something so cozy and cool about living in a little cottage on the water. Plus, at one point, Daniel's family decides to take a vacation simply by untying the house and going downriver. WHAT? I KNOW.

Casting Call:

Let's see, who has longish hair, looks kinda sickly but also super sweet?

Rory Culkin as Daniel

And I know I just used her, but Hailee is awesome, and so is Meredith. Plus, I know Hailee can tan.

Hailee Steinfeld as Meredith

Relationship Status: Buds Til the End

This book and I, we're tight, man. We've got that kind of connection that means we can enjoy everything together-- swimming, reading, sitting in the graveyard and getting all reflective, or just shooting the shizz. We don't always see eye to eye on everything, and there are certainly times when this book kinda goes off and I"m like, "Dude, I gotta bail." But in the end, we get each other, and I feel thankful for our friendship. Even when our paths diverge, this book knows I will always be there if it needs me, and every time I see a copy of Catcher in the Rye, I"ll remember about our times together and think, "Holden Caulfield ain't got nothing on Daniel Landon."

Yo yo YO! I have a copy of this book to give away! Leave a comment (and when you fill out the comment form, make sure you enter an email in the email field) and I'll pick the lucky winner at random.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from AmazonEncore. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Catcher, Caught is now available.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).