Book Review: Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

Book Review: Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

Shelved: Children’s fiction (contemporary)
Rating: ★★★★
Buy: The Book Depository
More: Goodreads

Megan Bright’s life starts to fall apart when a tumour is found in her brain, she is diagnosed with cancer, and taken out of school and put into a hospital for ongoing treatment. But Megan is less frightened of potentially losing her hair than losing her friends. Lucky for Megan, in her unfamiliar and clinical new home, she is bombarded by fellow cancer patients who are determined to see that she makes a new one.

Anthem for Jackson Dawes is a little younger than young adult, falling into the 8-12 bracket. It’s a typical trait of contemporary children’s fiction that the young protagonist goes through inner turmoil and inner change throughout the novel, and that’s exactly what Megan Bright is struggling with in Anthem. It’s a beautiful, engaging story exploring Megan’s teetering relationship with herself and those around her.

Although I am ten years older than Megan Bright, I could easily imagine how it would feel having to stay in hospital for a lengthy amount of time: isolated and lonely. I would, too, worry about whether anyone was going to visit me, and if they did, how our relationship may have changed: you’re Sick and they are Well. Anthem for Jackson Dawes is not so much a love story, as a story about human relationships: Megan’s relationship with Jackson Dawes, the only teenager in the ward; her loving 95-year-old grandfather; absent father and frustratingly upbeat mother; best friend Gemma, who has an uncanny talent for putting across her views in very few words; and Kipper, a very young, sick child whose real name she does not know. It was lovely to watch each relationship forge, develop, and alter as Megan’s difficult experiences shaped her outlook.

Yes, Anthem for Jackson Dawes is sad and heartbreaking and emotional, and yes, there is a girl and a boy, but do not avoid reading it just because you’ve already read The Fault in Our Stars it’s a very different story and I read it in one sitting. It’s also uplifting in it’s own way,  a story that’ll leave you thinking about its characters, and about compassion, long after you’ve read the last page.

Published: 3rd January 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 240
Source: Thank you Bloomsbury & The Book Depository for providing this book to review!
If you liked: Eight Keys & Love, Aubrey

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

  1. I feel like I might read this book just for the cover because it’s so beautiful. It’s probably one of my favourite covers from the books I’ve seen this year. Great Review Stacey! It definitely feels a bit different TFioS.

  2. I haven’t read TFiOS yet, but I think I’m more drawn to this one. Hyped-about books can sometimes have the opposite effect on me. Anyway, I just finished reading a pretty emotional read, so I’ll put this one on hold for a little while longer until I’m in the mood again, but I look forward to getting around to it. Great review!

    • Thanks Sam! I would definitely still suggest reading TFiOS regardless of its insane popularity – it’s a wonderful book, but I can see Anthem being compared to it because of the cancer and boy/girl scenario, and they’re really very different. I hope you enjoy both 😉

  3. I have this to read on my Kindle so I think I’ll finally get around to it now. Lovely review! 🙂

  4. […] Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce I am also including Anthem for Jackson Dawes as a sneaky eleventh choice, even though I only reviewed it last week, because I read it in just a few hours. Even if you may not be able to truly understand Megan’s experience, you’re sure to be able to relate to her. […]

  5. I read The Fault in our Stars and absolutely loved it. This sounds great and I was thinking it might be too similar, but I’ll definitely be checking it out!

  6. […] Clocks, The Forbidden Library, Wonder, Girl with a White Dog, Goth Girl, Rooftoppers, Fire Spell, Anthem For Jackson Dawes… If you read more young adult than middle grade fiction, why not give one of these a […]

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