Confessions of a Teenage Leper
by Ashley Little
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She’s hot, she’s popular, she’s a cheerleader and she’s going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It’ll all be hers.
But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She’s tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she’s tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen’s Disease, aka “leprosy.
Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can’t even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!
But it’s during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen’s Disease. She’s becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she’s on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn’t like what she sees. . .
Copy provided by Penguin Teen Canada for an honest review.
“Being on the other side makes you think about who you really were before. And let’s just say, I was not a good Samaritan.”
Abby is a popular cheerleader who gets Hansen’s Disease, previously known as leprosy. In this book we read about her life goes from where everyone wants to be her to nobody wanting to talk to her.
I’m going to be honest, Abby was a lot to take in and was not a good person. She was very self-centered and it took a while for her to realize that who she was before wasn’t the only person she could be.
“I had leprosy. I was a leper.”
Even though it did take her while to start to change, I think that’s actually a good thing. It made it feel more real. I don’t think feelings things like this would be easy to get over or accept in life. Could she have gone about things in a different way? Of course. But she was also a teenager, and when I was a teenager I remember my emotions running so deep and not being able to see the bigger picture of things.
While it’s not a favorite of mine, I can respect it for what it showed me. I honestly learned a lot about Hansen’s Disease from this novel. I do recommend picking this one up, especially if you’re a contemporary reader.