by: Frank Morelli
Published by:Fish Out of Water Books
Genres:Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
Format: PDF file
Source: Author (via YA Books Central)
Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.
They’re so many things to love about, ‘No Sad Songs’. The thing I love most is that the book is set in the 1990’s. This is a time period I haven’t seen a lot of in YA fiction ( or really fiction in general). The nineties are such a nostalgic time period. It is the last decade were our lives were not totally run by cell phones and computers. The simple things in the life of a teenager was very evident in this story. Gabe’s main worries are eating pizza and attracting girls.
The most important theme in, ‘No Sad Songs,’ is caring for someone with dementia. This novel really highlights the divesting situation or a child or grandchild caring for a parent or grandparent with this disease. The dementia sufferers often don’t know who they are or where they are anymore. For example, Gabe’s grandfather constantly relives his time fighting in WWII. Game’s flashbacks also really highlight Gabe’s pain as he remembers the wonderful times with his grandfather. I have read other books centering on dementia (‘Still Alice’) but these novels did not highlight the struggles of caregivers as ‘No Sad Songs’ did.
I really enjoyed the characters and their unique personalities. Gabe and his best friend John’s dynamic is amazing. My favorite character has to be John’s mother Lilly. I loved how fierce and intimidating she was to keep John and Gabe on the straight and narrow. Lilly really provided for some much-needed comedy relief in the story.
I did find the scene in the courtroom later in the book to be a little farfetched. It seemed to workout a little too convenient. I really did love the story though and was happy with the ending so I can overlook such a minor thing.
‘No Sad Songs’ is just an amazing read. I would definitely say this is something that would appeal to someone who is a caregiver. It also is something everyone one should read to help spread the message of elder care in our communities.