She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.
Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives.
For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her. But secrets have a way of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?
I was a puddle of tears at the end of this book. I felt for Saylor, I felt for Drew, hell, I even felt for Saylor's Mom who could be viewed as a heartless bitch.
"People with fictitious disorders, of which Munchausen is the severest, don't actually want to die. What we're looking for is to establish an identity, to hopefully find sympathy or love or whatever in the eyes of our loved ones."
Saylor has Munchausen Syndrome, meaning she makes herself sick. She'll take more Tylenol pills than what is safe, she'll inject herself with saliva to give herself infections, anything to make her Mom take her to the doctor. If she's lucky, she'll have to get admitted to the hospital, which is usually her ultimate goal. She does this because her relationship with her mother is strained and her father is always away on business.
"I'd always had a fascination with people who got sick the natural way - because of a chance mutation in their genes, or because their cels were created with a ticking time bomb nestled between them. What would that be like? To wander around with a justified reason to be angry at the world? It was a luxury I couldn't begin to imagine."
Since Munchausen's is a psychological disorder, Saylor sees a therapist. During one of her sessions, to get her therapist to stop talking, she mentions that she is going to volunteer at a hospital. She then sees it as an opportunity to gain access to medical supplies, medical supplies that she can use to make herself sick.
Because her therapist knows of her disorder, he arranges for her to have no access to any medical part of the hospital. She is assigned to set up the rooms for various support groups. That's when she sees the TIDD group, a group for people with terminal illnesses and degenerative diseases. The group mistakenly assumes she is a member, and Saylor, who loves the attention she gets when she is sick, decides to play along.
"I already had my first love. Disease. I didn't need a boy."
She meets Drew Dean, who has a degenerative disease of his own and is completely drawn to him. She finally feels accepted by the other people in the group. They ask her to hang out with them and for someone who always had a hard time making friends, she couldn't resist playing the part of a sick person.
"I was the sunflower to his sun, following his ever movement. The intensity of it all scared me a little. What was it about this boy? What was happening?"
The more time she spends with Drew, the further she falls for him. She falls for everyone in the group. They made her feel like she belonged and she didn't want to lose that. But as we all know, all good things must come to an end. What will happen to the friendships she has made once they find out she has been lying to them this entire time. What will happen to her relationship with Drew?
I really liked this story. Drew is completely swoonworthy. He tries to remain positive in spite of the cards life has dealt him. You fall in love with him just as much as Saylor does.
I wanted to hate Saylor, I really did, I couldn't find myself to be able to. Instead I felt bad for her, even though she wasn't really sick, the cards life dealt her weren't any better. A mother's love is supposed to be unconditional, yet she was ignored and belittled by her mother. Her father wasn't any better. He would put on a happy face in front of Saylor but he was always away on business trips. Her parents liked to sweep their problems under the rug instead of dealing with it.
This book broke my heart so many times, but I couldn't put it down.
I really liked this book. This book isn't your typical romance story. It's a story about dealing with the negative parts of life. It's a story about the bonds of friendship and how much they can survive.
Source: ARC provided by publisher for honest review.