Book Review & Guest Post — Only the Good Die Young by K.K. Hendin

Book Review & Guest Post — Only the Good Die Young by K.K. Hendin
Book Review & Guest Post — Only the Good Die Young by K.K. HendinOnly the Good Die Young by K.K. Hendin
Published by Self-Published
Publication date: March 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
279 pages
Format: eARC
Source: ARC e-book

The first year of college is supposed to be about parties, parties, and getting the hell out of Texas. Instead, Milcah Daniels is spending her eighteenth year in and out of Houston's hospitals. Her hair is falling out, they’ve cut off her boobs, and if she makes it to nineteen, she’ll consider it a personal miracle.

Breast cancer really has a way of messing with a girl’s social calendar.

When Milcah’s temporarily discharged from the hospital, she’s determined to get a tattoo for every medical procedure she’s had. Her quest leads her to Skin Stories, a new tattoo parlor a block from her apartment. And to it’s infuriatingly sexy artist, Callum Scott.

Callum is everything Milcah wants, and everything she shouldn’t have now. A new relationship when the official prognosis is one to five years is a terrible idea. But Callum doesn’t know about the breast cancer, and Milcah’s not running to tell him.

But when the doctor says things are actually looking positive, her entire life turns upside down. How is she supposed to start living again when she’s finally learned to accept her death?(


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Review:

“The bravest thing any of us can do isn’t love. The bravest thing we can do is let other people love us.”

Milcah is dying.  After being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer at eighteen years old, Milcah ran away from her foster home and her little brother to Nahor, just outside of Houston, Texas.  Most of her time is spent in the hospital going through treatment and fighting the disease.  When she’s not in treatment, she lives in a sparsely furnished state-funded apartment.

For a long time, her only source of support is this sweet nurse named Holly, whom Milcah frequently prods and pokes to share details of her dating life.  I really loved Milcah and Holly’s relationship.  My heart went out to Milcah early on because she was alone.  On the outside, she appears strong and doesn’t let anyone see her cry or breakdown.  But on the inside, she’s scared of what’s to come, of dying.  Holly was there for her, even when Milcah didn’t want her to be there.

Mentally, she has given up on living and has accepted her fate.  She’s angry, bitter and generally unpleasant to be around. She snaps at her doctors and makes the breast cancer support group ladies leave her room.  She even dropped out of college after learning that she had months to live, thinking education is useless at this point.   There were times that I found Milcah to be a little too abrasive.  I can understand that cancer can put you in a bad emotional state, but I had a hard time liking her at times because of her attitude and the way she treated people.  I loved that Milcah is an crocheting addict, and I found that to be an endearing quality in her.  Throughout most of the book she can be seen knitting when she is stressed out. She uses it as an outlet for her stress since she keeps so much bottled up in side.

Milcah is sent home from the hospital after undergoing a double mastectomy and she’s left to recover on her own.  Well, until she meets Callum Scott.  She is immediatley attracted to him.  He’s hot and funny, but she refuses to allow anything to develop between them because of her illness.

“Nothing scares off someone of the opposite gender like telling them your body is infected with cancerous tumors and chances are, you’re not going to see the other side of twenty.”

Callum is a tattoo artist and part-time worker at a pizza place in Milcah’s neighborhood.  Initially, when I read that he was a tattoo artist, I automatically assumed that he was going to be this bad boy.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was just an all-around good guy.  You know how I like my good guys.  Callum breathes life into Milcah’s grey and dull existence. He is determined to show her that her life is worth living and to start fighting.

“If you really love someone, baby, you’ll let them make their own decisions over what heartbreak they can handle.”

I would recommend this book to readers who like a slow-burning romance.  Callum and Milcah are friends for the majority of the book.  Their relationship develops very organically, and it is very sweet. 

3 stars

*I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Only-the-Good-Die-Young-Promo

 

10 Favorite Things About “Only the Good Die Young”
by K.K. Hendin 
  1. Milcah. Okay, I know. Obviously you’re going to love your MC, right? Yeah, but I love Milcah. So, so much. Enough to write her story even though I said I’d never write a ‘cancer book’ ever. (Protip: Don’t say you’ll never write X. You will. Always. I promise.)
  2. Fire escapes. Fire escapes are the porches of the porch-less. I grew up in an apartment building, and we had no porch, but we had a fire escape right outside the window. I was never allowed to go on it, but our neighbors used to use it for little parties when they were home. I used to daydream about sneaking onto the fire escape, but my parents would have killed me had I actually attempted to do so. We lived pretty high up, so falling off the fire escape would not have ended well at all.
  3. Sneaky Biblical Names. Both Milcah and Nahor are Biblical names. When I can’t come up with a good name for someone or someplace, I go looking through obscure Biblical names and places. It’s an excellent use of my education 😉
  4. Crocheting. I don’t crochet nearly as well as Milcah does (seriously. I can do, like, two or three different stitches and that’s it), but I do crochet and I love it. It’s calming, gives your hands something to do, and at the end you may have a blanket or scarf, because that’s all I can make. 🙂
  5. The regression scene. Because I am just a really tall four year old.
  6. Billy Joel. Because yes, his song Only The Good Die Young was the inspiration for the title of the book. And every time I see the title of my book, his song ends up getting stuck in my head. It’s been a lonnnng time, and yet, I still don’t mind having it basically playing in my head non-stop.
  7. Guys with good hearts. That one’s kind of self-explanatory. 🙂
  8. Holly. A few very good friends are nurses, and we’ve had a lot of conversations about the difficulty of keeping your distance from patients, and how losing a patient is never easy, no matter how many times it happens. And God bless them, they dealt with me being SUPER annoying when they were in school (Don’t want to study? ONE DAY MY LIFE MAY REST IN YOUR HANDS GO STUDY. <–what I used to do to motivate them to study. I know. I’m a really good friend like that.)
  9. My cover. Am I allowed to say that? Because I really do. Hafsah is a genius, and I’m so lucky that she GETS me, and what I’m trying to accomplish with my covers. The fact that she has the patience of a saint when it comes to deciphering my emails to her is a wonderful added bonus.
  10. Even though I know this book is probably going to make a bunch of people mad, I really loved writing about cancer from Milcah’s perspective. Not everyone has the same experience with dealing with cancer, and writing about the ugly side of a diagnosis was something that I felt needed to happen. As with any terrible thing that someone has to go through, there are some people who never get past the angry stage, and for those people who either are there or know someone else who is, I wanted them to know that they’re not the only ones. That there isn’t a right way to be sick, and that’s okay.

Megan here:  What a fantastic guest post! HUGE thank you to K.K. Hendin for this fabulous post!

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About the Author:

KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. She’s the author of the NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS and ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG.

She spends way too much time on Twitter, where she can be found at @kkhendin, and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.

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