Review: Finding Balance

February 20, 2020

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Jase Ellison doesn’t remember having Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia when he was three years old. His cancer diagnosis only enters his mind twice a year. Once at his yearly checkup at the oncology clinic and when he attends Camp Chemo in the summer. No one in his “real” life knows about his past, especially his friends at Atlanta West Prep.

Mari Manos has never been able to hide her cancer survivorship. She wakes every morning, grabs her pink forearm clip crutches, and starts her day. Mari loves Camp Chemo—where she’s developed a healthy crush on fellow camper Jase. At Camp, she knows that she’ll never get “the look” or have to explain her amputation to anyone.

Jase wants to move on, to never reveal his past. But when Mari transfers to his school, he knows she could blow his cover. That’s the last thing he wants, but he also cannot ignore his attraction to her. For Mari, she only wants to be looked at like a girl, a person, and not only known for her disability. But how do you move on from cancer when the world won’t let you?


Finding Balance is a YA cancer book, but there is something different about reading it. It gave me a different perspective of people that are cancer survivors. Being a cancer survivor is part of a person's story whether they want to accept that or not, and the characters show us that. I honestly enjoyed this book so much because it was so unique in the story and the feelings of the characters. 

Mari develops strong relationships with other cancer survivors that she meets at the camp and one of them is Jase. Their relationship is filled with a lot of ups and downs. This book shows how they both grow together with the challenges of cancer being part of their story. Both Mari and Jase are characters that you can relate to and see their struggles. 

But the one thing that really bugged me about this book at times was Jase. At times his character acted like an immature 3rd grader that was chasing around and bullying his crush, instead of just being nice. The thing about Jase is, he would know what he was doing when he said something mean, but he did it anyway. I think that is what drove me the most insane about this book. That's why I'm giving this book a slightly lower rating. 

That being said, Mari's character brought new life into the cancer story genre. She has her problems, but she also has a full life. She's a cancer survivor that has a quiet strength about her. Not that she is always quiet, far from it actually. She's not afraid to stand up for herself and her friends. Her character gave me a new light on what it means to deal with a disability. 

For me, this book was an exciting read that brought a breath of fresh air to the YA genre. It is a cancer read that is both full of hope and life. If anything it is the happiest of any book that covers cancer that I have read. Even though it is happy at times, that doesn't mean it doesn't cover hard issues. These teens are facing a challenging life after having to deal with one of the worst diseases. 

I give this book a... 

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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