Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist
Quick witted, sharp-tongued Connor Lambert won't take it any longer: the bullying, the secrets, the sympathy. He's been dying for years, but he's not dead yet. He's going down fighting.
Forming an unlikely friendship with fellow juvenile delinquent Skeates, the pair stage a break out and set off on a crazy route across Scotland to find Connor's dad, an inmate at Shotts prison. But Connor's left two things behind - the medication he needs to keep him alive, and the girl who makes living bearable.
Dodging the police, joy riding and extreme partying - if Connor's dying, he might as well enjoy one last wild adventure.
Farewell Tour Release date 20th July 2017
Read the first chapter!
Farewell Tour long-listed as one of 20 finalists for the Brandford Boase Award
Review from netgallery - Cindy H, Librarian:
If I could've held my eyes open for 20 more minutes, I would've finished this book in one sitting. It is really that good! I particularly enjoy books with quirky characters that make me laugh, and this one certainly does not disappoint.
When Connor comes home to his neighbor, Mrs. MacDonald because his mother had to stay in Inverness overnight for work:
"Yes, Mrs. MacDonald. Thanks, Mrs. MacDonald. I'm fine, Mrs. MacDonald. My mum is OK, Mrs. MacDonald. She likes to be busy, Mrs. MacDonald. No, she won't have a breakdown, Mrs. MacDonald. The Hoover is broken, Mrs. MacDonald. You don't have to get yours, Mrs. MacDonald. (She nips home to get it anyway and sucks the life out of the carpet.) Yes, I have remembered my medications, Mrs. MacDonald. That's been blocked for ages, Mrs. MacDonald. I just keep the door shut, Mrs. MacDonald. Yes, it's mingin in there, Mrs. MacDonald. We don't have a rabbit any more, Mrs. MacDonald. Those are raisins not rabbit shit, Mrs. MacDonald. Sorry for swearing, Mrs. MacDonald. Yes, they are terrible boys down at that arcade, Mrs. MacDonald. Shocking news about that boy Jenson, Mrs. MacDonald. That's blood, Mrs. MacDonald, and we store dead bodies in there, Mrs. MacDonald. Just joking, Mrs. MacDonald. I know it smells like, but I really was just joking, Mrs. MacDonald..."
The humor is similar to that of Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes.
Connor Lambert is 15, lives on a tiny island in Scotland, and has the typical teen issues. Sure he's crushing on his best "girl friend," Emma, and he has daily run-ins with the school bully, Skeates. But Connor is definitely NOT your average teen. His sister died, and his dad's in prison (although his mom refuses to let him visit or even tell him why his dad's been incarcerated for the last 9 years). Oh, and he has cancer.
After a particularly painful bout of bullying in physics lab, Connor and Skeates both end up in the hospital. Connor's mom is out of the picture, and without anyone to care for him, he ends up in Dachaigh House - an institution for violent youths - with Skeates. Dun, dun, dun!
Despite their former rivalry, Connor and Skeates form an alliance and set out on a road trip (of sorts) to see Connor's dad in prison with a little money and without Connor's seven medications he takes twice a daily to keep his cancer at bay.
Fast-paced, full of action, humor, suspense (What happened to his sister, Erica? Why is his dad in prison? What is the big secret Connor's mom is keeping from him? Will he get to Shotts Prison before being caught or hospitalized for being without his meds? Will his dad even see him once he gets to Shotts Prison? How will Skeates get them out of this mess?), and heartwarming emotions.
Some of the Scottish slang was unclear (mostly because I don't hail from Scotland), but I was able to figure it out with context clues. Don't let the Scottish slang or occasional Gaelic phrases deter you from reading this book.
I normally dislike books about dying teens, but this one had me feeling all the feels. I laughed (often), my heart raced during the get-aways, and yes, I even cried. Real tears! The last time a book made me cry was . . . well, I can't exactly remember, but it was a long time ago. The real beauty of this book is that it's about two boys on an adventure who form an unlikely alliance and "never give up.”