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?
Milcah was only eighteen years old when she found a lump in her breast. After ignoring it for half a year, the doctors confirm her worst fear, she has breast cancer. Which to Milcah sounds like they are saying she will die. Now she is constantly living the days with the thought that it might be her last one. Undergoing the chemo and eventually a double vasectomy, Milcah has become very bitter, angry and depressed.
Sick and tired of the whole cancer things, she feels the need to turn it somehow into something positive. That is where she gets the idea for getting a tattoo and that is how she meets Callum. He is a tattoo artist and apparently also her neighbour. While Milcah can not deny the attraction she feels for him, she tries to keep him at arms length. The last things she needs right now is to get involved with someone, when she doesn't even know if she'll make it to her nineteenth birthday.
When you read the blurb you know it's not going to be a light fluffy read, on the contrary. Only The Good Die Young plays very much on your emotions. Milcah's thoughts are often very depressing and negative. It is executed so well you get sucked into that same emotional state as the character, leaving you feel drained. Still those thoughts and her struggle are very real and that is what makes it so easy to connect with the character.
Milcah often uses sarcasm and wit to divert from that path of total despair, still halfway through the book her negative attitude becomes too much. I had hoped that the romance between her and Callum could uplift the story a bit, but somehow it got even more darker. Callum made an effort to turn her thoughts positive, to keep looking at life as something good, but one little thing and Milcah is going down again.
I would have thought that an eighteen-year-old had more will to live than Milcah did. There were often times I wanted to yell at her for being so negative and to live her life to the fullest. It is understandable that this isn't easy, but I can not agree with some of the choices she made. Instead of leaning on other people, she wanted to do this on her own.
Overall it was certainly an interesting book, though quite depressive. It doesn't leave you very happy, but I could appreciate the honesty and reality of the story. I wouldn't have minded to've seen more passionate romance between Milcah and Callum though. Only The Good Die Young is a pretty fast and unique read.
The AuthorKK 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.