Review : The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

 

 

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A heartbreaking yet uplifting story about a boy who has lost everything but finds new hope drawing in the shadows of a hospital. Features a thirty-two-page graphic novel.

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night, just like the rest of his family.

Now he lives in the hospital, serving food in the cafeteria, hanging out with the nurses, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created Patient F.

Then, one night, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony is like a beacon for Drew, pulling them together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside of the hospital, and away from their painful pasts.

But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront death, and life might get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks any chance of a future& for both of them.  (From: Goodreads)

Title: The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Genres: YA, contemporary, lgbt, illness, comic

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Edition: Paperback, 2015

Pages: 298 pages

*!!!5 Brilliant Stars!!!*

So damn good!!! I don’t even know how to describe my feelings!!!

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After the car accident, Andrew Brawley was the only person that survived in his family. Since then, he had been hiding from Death. He lived in Roanoke General, a hospital, in a little room of an unfinished wing. He worked in the cafeteria. He chatted with ER nurses. Sometimes, he went visit cancer kids in pediatrics. He usually visited an old lady in coma, Grandma Brawley. He drew comics, a story about a guy (kind like a superhero) called Patient F. 4th of July, a burnt boy got sent into ER. He was screaming loudly in pain. Andrew felt like he needed to look out for that boy. He wouldn’t let Death get him.
Well…I kinda suck at doing synopsis.

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This is just brilliant!!! Go read it!!!

I’m super glad that I picked up this book in Eslite bookstore last Tuesday. I went visit my gran’s sisters with my gran last Tuesday. After the visit, we went to Eslite bookstore in the evening. My gran doesn’t like to read. Therefore, she was like…walking around in the huge bookstore. I was thrilled to see so many books. I walked to YA section and browsed through every book on the shelves. I ended up buying five books. Those books aren’t that popular. I just read the synopsises on the backs of the books and felt that I would like the stories. Yep. This is how I buy books most of the time. And that time, I bought all five contemporary novels. Totally no shame when I carried a pile of books to the cashier.

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I really really love this book. It has comic inside! It’s so cool! I’ve never read any book like this! The comic didn’t show up at every chapter. It only showed up when Andrew was drawing it. The comic is one part that makes this book special. I like the writing of this book. It made me feel that it was teenager thinking. The sentences are decorated. They aren’t decorated by loads of adjectives. They are decorated by symbols and metaphors. (The decoration style is alike to Escape The Furnace, one of my favourite series. Yeah, I love its words very much.) The story can be read in five parts. Just to see how you see this story. I’ll talk about the five stages later. Shaun David Hutchinson is now my favourite author in consideration. I’m going to pick up his other works.

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The Setting:

The whole story set place in Roanoke General, a hospital. The cafeteria, where Andrew worked. The ER, where Andrew chatted with his friends, 3 nurses. The Peds, where Andrew visited two sick kids. The ICU, where Andrew met with the burnt boy. Grandme Brawley’s room, where he always drew his comic, where he could have time for himself. The rooftop. The unfinished wing. And Death’s office. It’s like I’m watching a medics TV show.

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Maybe it could turn into a medics TV show. Not that I watch any, haha. I prefer watching crime shows. However, if it’s gonna turn into a TV show, I’m so gonna watch it!

The Characters:

Andrew ‘Or Andy or Drew. Whatever.’ Brawley: Drew, as most people calling him, was actually a homeless 17-year-old guy living/hiding in the hospital. He sometimes ‘borrowed’ doctors’ iPods from their lockers. He took clothes from Lost & Found.

I died that night.

After that accident, Death took away his parents and his little sister, Cady. Drew ran away and hid. He had become the missing person on papers. His hair had grown longer. He believed if Death looked a little bit carefully at him, she would know he was the missing kid. Therefore, he needed to avoid her.
Drew was an artist. He drew Patient F. Patient F was somehow connected to Drew himself.
To me, despite he had nowhere to go, Drew was a kindhearted person. He visited the cancer kids, Lexi and Trevor, just to talk to them, to make them feel better. He did some special things for them. I know that I must be blessed if he is my friend. (It’s never enough to have too many Drews!)

Drew had been living under a mask. For fear that he might get caught and had to leave the hospital, to leave the place where his family was last seen, he put on a disguise. His real name wasn’t Andrew Brawley.

Sometimes I think of myself as a savior of the lost, a caretaker of the found.

Patient F: Without his creator a.k.a. Drew even knowing, he was like a mirror to him. Patient F was an experiment subject. His family got killed. He had a kill list and he wanted to revenge. Patient F went back in time, putting his family’s souls into other people’s bodies and tried to save them. Those people didn’t even know who Patient F was. His real family had already gone. However, Patient F still thought that he had to save his family and those people were his family.
He was just like Drew. Drew had to let go of the past so that he could see the future. Drew’s family were dead. He kept seeing them on other patients. One night, there was a baby boy who drowned. Drew did a CPR on him after he died. It made him think of the accident, he had been trying to perform a CPR on Cady, but it just hadn’t worked. Drew went visit two sick kids and the burnt boy because he kinda wanted to be a hero like Patient F. He didn’t want them to die.

Death ‘Miss Michelle’: Michelle was a social worker in the hospital. Drew referred her as Death because she was always around the dead people’s family. It wasn’t her fault. It was her job. She was a consultant. She listened to people’s loss and tried to give them comfort.
Drew needed to hide from her because Michelle was a social worker. She often wondered why Drew was still in the hospital in the middle of the night. Once, she asked Drew to go to her office. Drew found his file and accidentally saw his sketch face on corkboard. He was the missing kid. If Death realised he was the sketched kid, she would try every way to contact his relatives and send him away. Drew didn’t want to go. He wanted to stay here with his family and all his friends, the people he loved.

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Trevor: Trevor was the 17-year-old kid in Peds, who had leukemia. He had used to be a sporty guy, but he had lost a lot of weight. He looked very very sick.
He secretly liked Lexi, his neighbour cancer kid. He knew that he was gonna die soon. He thought that he didn’t deserve to love any one because he didn’t want that person to get heartbroken.
He had already given up on everything. He couldn’t see his future, only heaven awaited for him. He was the one who believed in God while both Drew and Lexi didn’t.
Drew and Lexi even held him a special day little party. The doctor had originally announced that Trevor would die six months later. Nonetheless, he was still alive. Thus, his two friends threw him a small party because that day was the day he was supposed to die.

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Lexi: Lexi was a cheerful girl. She was like the opposite of Trevor. She also had cancer, but she always thought that she would get better and she would eventually go back to school in fall. She read a lot of books and did a lot of homework. She liked Trevor, too, but she always thought that he might not like her that way. She always opened her blinds, so that she could see the sky, the ocean, the bright future. It’s good to see how Lexi look forward.

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Rusty: Rusty was the burnt boy. The night of National Day, he was sent into ER, screaming so loud that caught everyone’s attention. He was hurt, badly, and he was sent to ICU soon. As his friend, Nina, said that it was because he was gay so people at school bullied him all the time. This time must have been the same. Somebody had set him on fire from the back, so Rusty couldn’t have seen who’d done it.
Drew couldn’t keep his screaming out of his head. Eventually he snuck into the ICU to check on that boy. Drew told him his secret — his parents were dead and he lived in the hospital. Drew occasionally came to his room, reading to him. Day by day, they became friends and maybe something more. They even planned to runaway together. (Thank God that Drew couldn’t do this. Or this would spoil the book!)
However, Rusty’s burnt case wasn’t just as simple as a setting fire stuff. Rusty told Drew that Nina couldn’t have saved him in time because she had been busy making out with her newest boyfriend. What Nina told Drew was a totally different story. She hadn’t attended the party. When Drew broke into Death’s office, he found Rusty’s file. On it saying,

Injuries inconsistent with victim’s account.

Father Mike: Father Mike was the Father in the chapel of the hospital. He was a wise man. The first time he reading/browsing the comic Patient F, he was able to connect the virtual world to Drew’s real life. Drew was too blind to see it. He simply just loved the story then. Mike asked some questions and gave some suggestions. He wondered why Patient F kept convincing himself that he was saving his family but his real family had already died. He said that Patient F shouldn’t use so much hatred. He should use more love.

“Only that…someone who goes to such great lengths to avoid death and save people who aren’t even really his family — he isn’t acting out of guilt alone. He’s punishing himself.”
I hesitate, then glance back over my shoulder, almost afraid to look at him. “Punish himself for what?”
Father Mike shrugs. “It’s your comic. You tell me.”

Grandma Brawley: Of course, Grandma Brawley wasn’t Drew’s grandma. She was just another patient in coma. Drew came talk to her or drew the comic in her room. He could find peace in this room.
One day, grandma Brawley woke up. This was kinda funny since grandma Brawley was confused when everyone told her that her grandson visited her very often. She was a wise woman and she could really be a grandma.

“How do you deal with losing all the people you love?”
“You don’t,” she says. “Not like everyone expects you to.” Grandma Brawley sighs and rests the frame on the bed. “Life goes on with or without you, and that’s just the reality of it. You never move on, you just keep moving forward.”

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(BEST QUOTE EVER!!!)

The Side Characters:

The ER Nurses: Steven, Emma, and Jo were supportive. They were nice chatters as well.

Arnold: Arnold was the boss of the cafeteria. He lost his son and he treated Drew like his son. He helped Drew with a lot of things. He brought books for Drew to read and he even did Drew a favor to read to Rusty when Drew wasn’t available.

The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley:
I was wondering what were the five stages of Drew when I read this book. These are my opinions,

1. The Car Accident: Andrew Brawley had come alive was due to the accident. It had been supposed to be a happy family road trip. Dad had been driving the car for a long time and he was very tired, so he let Drew drive. While Drew was driving, he got a text from his friend. He checked the text and the next minute, there was blood all over his face. He found his sister in the trench. She had forgotten to fasten the seat-belt. He went to perform CPR on her, but it didn’t work. Death had taken away his father, his little sister, and his mother that night. Since then, he had lived with a fake identity in the hospital.

2. Live A Life In The Hospital: Drew was born. He lived in the hospital. He pretended to be Grandma Brawley’s grandson, which was very convenient since Grandma Brawley was in a coma. During the meal time, he worked in the cafeteria. Sometimes, he visited Trevor and Lexi. Rusty was sent into ER on 4th of July. He spent the night reading to him, chatting about simple stuff. And of course, he was aware of Death all the time.

3. Love: Drew helped Trevor and Lexi get together. He revealed his feeling toward Rusty. They were more than just friends. They kissed. It triggered a lot of his thoughts. Drew had this weird theory going on in his brain. He thought that everyone he loved would die. He’d seen his father, his little sister, and his mother die. He didn’t want Rusty to die, so he needed to leave him. He couldn’t be with him.
(Rusty actually was less likely to be dead if he was inside the hospital, to have nurses monitor him.)

4. Suicide Attempt: Drew became so low. His thoughts had become very dark. People he loved had died. Although Rusty was still alive, he was mad at Drew that Drew hadn’t done runaway with him. Also, Rusty got his leg infected and it somehow was Drew’s fault. If Drew had showed up that day, Rusty wouldn’t have needed to fake sick in bed for a few days. Drew felt like maybe he really needed to let all of these go. He went to the rooftop and decided to make a leap.

5. Dream About The Future: Of course, you and I both know that Drew wouldn’t be dead. He miraculously survived with a broken arm and a broken leg. When he passed out/in a coma after the jump, he was thinking about his life. He needed to let go of the past, not let go of himself. He needed to let this Andrew Brawley go. Therefore, Ben Fischer was back. And Ben Fischer walked out of the hospital, waiting for his aunt and uncle to pick him up to Colorado. Ben Fischer dreamt about his future. He could see so many years from now. He was happy.

My Favourite Parts:
There are three parts. All of them were for Trevor and Lexi arranged by Drew. He was so sweet. I love him so much!

1. The Wheelchair Hockey: Drew thought it would be fun to let Trevor and Lexi have some outdoor activity. After all, poor kids were always in the wards. Drew snuck them out and they went to the rooftop to play wheelchair hockey with the setting sun as the background.

2. The Dinner Date: Drew asked nurses and Arnold for help. He used the cafeteria to make a perfect date scene for them. Jo and Emma decorated the place. And Trevor did exactly ask Lexi to have a dinner with him right there. Arnold must have worked hard on the dishes. He was awesome!

3. The Wig Funeral: It was Lexi who died. Trevor turned out to be cancer-free, for now. Drew and Trevor were both devastated. (And Drew couldn’t seem to forgive himself not being there for her. He always thought that Trevor would be the one to leave.) Lexi’s mother brought Lexi an ungly wig which looked like a dead animal. Trevor wanted to cherish it.
Drew arranged the funeral and asked Father Mike to say prayers for Lexi. Drew asked Trevor to burn the wig because Trevor lived and he needed to let go of her. Trevor couldn’t be like Drew dwelling in the past.

The Truth Behind The Burn:
I was actually very curious about the burn of Rusty. It was a weird case. What Rusty said was inconsistent to what Nina said. Besides, the burn on Rusty’s body was upfront. Nevertheless, Rusty told the doctor that someone snuck up on him and set him on fire from behind.
I like to think. I like to think of a lot of things. So…I came up this idea…Rusty must have set himself on fire! EWW…why would he do that? Here’s his reason,

“I wasn’t just trying to kill myself. I wanted to feel on the outside the way I felt on the inside. I wanted everyone to see what they did to me, to see the damage they’d done.”

Yeah. And due to this reason, he needed to see a shrink after he got out of the hospital. Anti-bully!!!

Music For The Book:

*Kadie Elder – First Time He Kissed A Boy
I saw the line ‘the first time I kissed a boy’ and my brain just started singing this song. I love this song. It’s very summery.

Wow…what a long review…I gave this book five out of five stars and it might become my favourite book! I recommend it to everyone. This book is just so good!!! I’m afraid I’m gonna have a serious reading slump. Go read it! Go read it!

Happy reading, guys ~ 😀

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