Lenni is a seventeen-year-old girl living in the May Ward, aka the terminal ward, at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. Margot is an eighty-three-year-old woman in the hospital for heart problems. When these two rebellious souls meet in the newly created Arts and Crafts room, they decide to embark on a project to remember each of their combined 100 years of life. Their friendship flourishes over stories of finding love and losing it, mischievous teenage hijinks, and learning how to start over when it seems impossible. It is a book that is equal measures heartwarming and heartbreaking and should be on everyone’s summer reading lists.
I really enjoyed every part of this book. I thought the concept was well thought out and well executed. Rather than being an exact dual timeline novel, Cronin inserts episodes from Lenni and Margot’s past as vignettes through the chapters. Each flashback is labeled with the character, their age, and where the scene is taking place to make it easy to keep track of what is happening. Naturally, Margot has more past scenes, whereas we mostly follow Lenni in the present day as she wrestles with what it means to be terminal at such a young age while befriending one of her nurses and the hospital chaplain.
Cronin also did an excellent job creating her characters and making readers emotionally invested in both Margot and Lenni’s lives. The book has a great balance between funny dialogue and shenanigans, while also tackling a lot of sensitive topics in the story with the care they deserve. And although the end of the book had me crying, ultimately it ended on a happy, hopeful note that makes the journey worth it. Overall this was an amazing book about friendship, grief, and love that I would recommend to everyone.
GBC Reader Reviews