[ARC] Review #33: Always Smile


Not long ago, seventeen-year-old Carley Allison had it all. She was on the edge of fame as a singer and composer. She was reaching for the highest levels as a competitive skater. She had a brand-new boyfriend and a golden future waiting after graduation. Her world came crashing down when she was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer in her throat. Her case, doctors said, was one in 3.5 billion. Faced with an uncertain new future, Carley did what she always did: she rose to the challenge. Cancer treatment tested her, but Carley was fearless and strong. Told she might never sing again, Carley beat the odds and performed on television for an audience of millions. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer said, introducing her, “The voice you’re about to hear is a miracle…” Carley died before her twenty-first birthday, but her memory lives on in the countless people she touched with her courage.

Author Alice Kuipers weaves their stories with the blog Carley kept in the final months of her life. These many voices — plus plenty of Carley’s texts and photos — show her transformation from ordinary to extraordinary, and convey her personal rules for living well in the worst of times.

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I’m going to admit, I was expecting some pain to hit from this book. But this book took that expectation and stomped on it, inflating it more and more and more.

This book nearly got tears out of me. I’m not an easy crier when it comes to reading, but some can really get me.

Alice Kuipers took this true story and warped it all the pieces together. Carley Allison was a real person with real life goals and expectations. Until cancer took control.

Something I absolutely love about reading these true stories is the hope and happiness. No matter what, these people are staying strong and pushing forward, moving on, and dealing with it. They tell us to never lose faith, to never lose hope, that it’ll all be alright.

This book brought out the chest pains, the headaches from all the diagnoses, everything. The ending didn’t really take me by surprise, but it was very sudden.

All in all, I think Alice Kuipers did an excellent job piecing everything together and getting the real story of this amazing woman. For this read, I rate Always Smile 5 stars.

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Author_Alice_Kuipers_head_shot_purpleI was born in London, England, and I moved to Canada in 2003 when I fell in love with a Canadian. We live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which took a while for me to learn how to spell. I have four children, a girl and three boys.

My first novel, Life on the Refrigerator Door, was published in 29 countries, won several awards and was named as a New York Times book for the Teen Age. My second is called Lost For Words in the US, and The Worst Thing She Ever Did everywhere else. It won the Arthur Ellis Award, was shortlisted for the White Pine and Willow Awards, and was published in eight territories. 40 Things I Want To Tell You is my YA book published in 2012. The Death of Us, a CLA honour book, in 2014. My newest YA novel is Me (and) Me.

Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book is my first picture book. It was published with Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in December 2014, and the sequel Violet and Victor Write The Most Fabulous Fairy Tale is available now.

Find me at www.alicekuipers.com.

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