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Ways To Live Forever [Hardcover]

Sally Nicholls
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2008
Living through the last stages of leukemia, Sam wants to know facts. Facts about UFO's, ghosts, airships, what it feels like to kiss a girl. Sam is full of questions that nobody wants to answer, and he doesn't have much time left. In the multiple hanky tradition of classic tearjerkers, this moving and ultimately uplifting account of a boy's final months is impossible to read with a dry eye. Written as a collection of journal entries, lists, questions, and photographs, Sam's story answers one question on its own: What matters most when every minute counts?

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Product Description

Review

Praise for Ways to Live Forever

"Sam is a child whom readers would want as a friend and he will be missed when the book is done." — School Library Journal, starred review

"[Ways to Live Forever] skirts easy sentiment to confront the hard questions head-on, intelligently and realistically and with an enormous range of feeling." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The energy and joy of this novel is a remarkable feat." — Horn Book, starred review

A Horn Book Fanfare Book

An ALA Notable Children's Book

A USBBY Outstanding International Book

A New York Public Library Title for Reading and Sharing --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

SALLY NICHOLLS completed an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University (UK), where she won the prize for the writer who showed the most potential. She now lives in London, where she is working on her second novel.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too June 14 2011
Format:Paperback
A big thank you to one of my 8th-grade students for bringing this book to my attention - she told me it was excellent, and I do agree.

WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER tells the story of the last four months in the life of eleven-year-old Sam McQueen. Sam was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of six. He successfully battled the disease twice, but this third bout will be his last. Now at home and taking drugs, not to cure the disease, but only to gain him some extra time, he decides to write his story.

With the help of Felix, another terminally ill young boy, Sam puts his thoughts and feelings on paper. He details his daily activities, his frustrations with his illness, and the many unanswered questions he has about the end. He makes a list of what he would like to do before he dies, including things like "be a teenager," "ride in an airship," and "go up down-escalators and down up-escalators."

Sam's straight-forward approach to his situation and those connected with his life provide an emotional yet inspiring story. There are humorous moments and heart-wrenching times as Sam lives his remaining days with both amazing curiosity and humble dignity. It is a powerful story I'm glad I didn't miss.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply (and) beutiful! Sept. 8 2008
By Milan R. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
How lovely novel this is. Normally I don't read novel for young adults but I did liked this one very much indeed. The language is simply but absolutely beautiful; portraits as well; it's really impossible not to love Felix and entire Sam's family (and of course Sam). From the very beginning you are stunned by horrifying circumstance characters of the novel are facing with and feel gratefulness cause you're not from that story. Then you realize that there are numerous people in precisely the same situation and from that moment you're not looking on this novel as a work of fiction. You're starting to feel their pain and respect their courage. You're seeing real children and their loved ones under those pages ...
Eventually you're absolutely emotionally attached with them so don't be surprise if your eyes start watering (be surprise if they don't!).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written. Please write more books! Sept. 21 2009
By Mary Kay Starnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read (mostly skim)young adult books mainly to make sure they are suitable for my children, but I found myself reading every word of this book. Having had cancer myself 9 years ago, there are questions that you ask about your own mortality. I can't imagine being 11 and faced with the fact that you are dying. Sally Nichols brings Sam to life, and you feel as if you are reading his actual journal, not reading a fictional book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "By the time you read this, I will probably be dead" Oct. 11 2008
By Not Miss Havisham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The summing up statement at the beginning of this story introduces this multimodal reader effectively "This is my book...it is a collection of lists, stories, pictures, questions and facts. It is also my story".
Sam is 11 years old and has leukaemia. He is also a fun-loving, intelligent boy with a zest for trying to cram a list of experiences into the short time that is left before he dies.
This story folllows him in his fulfillment of his list of things he wants to do, in such a funny and unsentimental way, that I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry on many of the pages (of course, I was already sniffling by the time I had gotten to page 2, anyone who knows me, knows I am a complete wimp). The power lies in the fact that Sam is unsentimental, not much mush, even though the actual events and stories are emotionally highly charged. His pleasure and awareness of everyday small things that most people take for granted is evident throughout, for example in the thrill of sunshine, snow or a simple thing like seeing a clear sky during a powercut.
In terms of genuine quality this was a winner. Stories that seem completely real and genuine are a bit of a rarity, but this was one I had trouble with, I just found it difficult to believe someone had written this and dreamed it up (I had a similar experience with 'Life of Pi'). Having said that, there are probably plenty of 'Sams' out there, who feel this is their story. I'm making everyone old enough in the house read this one. A big thumbs up for the author- did I mention it's the winner of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2008? What a super read!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too June 14 2011
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A big thank you to one of my 8th-grade students for bringing this book to my attention - she told me it was excellent, and I do agree.

WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER tells the story of the last four months in the life of eleven-year-old Sam McQueen. Sam was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of six. He successfully battled the disease twice, but this third bout will be his last. Now at home and taking drugs, not to cure the disease, but only to gain him some extra time, he decides to write his story.

With the help of Felix, another terminally ill young boy, Sam puts his thoughts and feelings on paper. He details his daily activities, his frustrations with his illness, and the many unanswered questions he has about the end. He makes a list of what he would like to do before he dies, including things like "be a teenager," "ride in an airship," and "go up down-escalators and down up-escalators."

Sam's straight-forward approach to his situation and those connected with his life provide an emotional yet inspiring story. There are humorous moments and heart-wrenching times as Sam lives his remaining days with both amazing curiosity and humble dignity. It is a powerful story I'm glad I didn't miss.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story that will forever touch those who read it June 18 2010
By KidsReads - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Sam McQueen has lived 11 years, and so far it's been a grueling journey. Diagnosed with leukemia at age six, he has been in and out of hospitals, dealing with endless nosebleeds, always feeling tired, and surviving the torturous bouts of chemotherapy. The doctors thought they had beaten the cancer, but it always comes back. This time, they suspect the worst and give Sam about a year to live.

Not all of Sam's life has been horrid. He has two awesome parents and a younger sister named Ella who love him very much. And then there's Felix, who he met at the hospital. Felix also has cancer, but it's a different kind. Although Felix is two years older than Sam, they became best friends almost immediately. The two of them together spell "trouble" and present a big challenge to the nurses, like the time they snuck around the hospital corridors playing spy games.

Sam and Felix have school together three days a week at Sam's house. Their teacher, Mrs. Willis, usually makes it fun and doesn't push them to do boring stuff. In fact, she gave Sam the idea to start his very own book, in which he will talk about his life and coping with cancer. Included will be all of the lists that he and Felix make: his favorite things, what he looks like, what to do when someone dies, ways to live forever, and questions that nobody will answer. He also has a list of goals to accomplish, such as seeing a ghost, flying in a blimp, kissing a girl, and going up the down escalator. He never really expects to perform these activities, but with the encouragement of Felix, he starts crossing things off his list.

Eventually, both Sam and Felix's health begins to fade. Sam knows they don't have long to live, and the idea of death is never far from his mind. But he doesn't let it stop him from taking advantage of the time he has left, or loving those most important to him.

Sally Nicholls has written an amazing story that will forever touch those who read it. Her very real character of Sam will wiggle into your heart with his honesty and openness, and no one will be able to refuse his sincere invitation to share in his challenging life. His quizzical mind asks the questions everyone wants answered, and his heart- and soul-touching story may even provide some possible answers. Nicholls writes with a childlike openness and sense of humor that, along with its page-turning intensity, will have the book finished all too soon. However, becoming Sam's friend and sharing in his special story will allow readers to carry a part of him in their hearts forever.
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