"When you are older, be careful not to put off things that are important to you."

Beneath this thought-provoking memoir about a young girl dealing with cancer is an unconventional love story that is bound to raise eyebrows and ignite questions regarding social mores and parental judgement. Twelve year old Emily is an intelligent and mature beyond her years young girl, diagnosed with leukemia. Various treatments and remissions ultimately leave her with little hope for survival, beyond the possibility of a rare bone marrow transplant. In the midst of these dire circumstances Emily befriends Jeremy Wells, a 17-year old college student. While Wells is clearly smitten with this girl, it is the adolescent who tempts a physical relationship. Emily's mother, Carol, is quick to end any budding romance. But when Emily's health drastically declines, in a desperate act Carol calls on Wells. Ironically as events unfold, this young man will prove to be the anchor in Emily's fight to survive.

Primarily from Wells' point of view, readers will witness an unusual union played out with subtle pomp and ceremony. The symbolic blue and pink hearts connected by intertwining golden rings, thematically appear throughout the storyline, representing both the innocence and unbreakable bond that seems to exist between this couple. There is certainly an awkwardness and disconcerting feel in the dynamics of this narrative. Undoubtedly some readers will be offended by the ethical lines that are crossed, yet candidly the work sheds light on extraordinary circumstances. The deeper paradox seems rooted in the question of how far would you go to save a loved one. Would you break societal rules, and do the ends justify the means? Ultimately we see a child beat the odds against a devastating disease, and a taboo relationship that results in a real, happily ever after marriage.

Through their adult, professional work, both Jeremy and Emily Wells have counseled others and shared their unique love story. Reaffirming their personal declarations, Jeremy affirms "I truly felt that love is the bond that keeps you safe. ... actually love, hope and God." Surely it saved Emily. This is a provocative read, out of the mouth of babes.

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