A heartbreaking yet uplifting story about a boy who has lost everything but finds new hope drawing in the shadows of a hospital. Features a thirty-two-page graphic novel.
Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night, just like the rest of his family.
Now he lives in the hospital, serving food in the cafeteria, hanging out with the nurses, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created—Patient F.
Then, one night, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony is like a beacon for Drew, pulling them together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside of the hospital, and away from their painful pasts.
But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront death, and life might get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks any chance of a future…for both of them.
From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Narrator Andrew is a 17-year-old survivor of a terrible car accident that killed his parents and younger sister. He blames himself, is consumed by survivor’s guilt, and is on the run from his life, hiding out in a half-finished wing of the hospital where they died. One night, Rusty, another boy his age, arrives in the ER, the apparent victim of a hate crime, badly burned over much of his body. Andrew begins visiting him late at night, reading first from his own comic, Patient F, and then from novels lent to him by the cafeteria manager. The boys come to realize a powerful attraction for one another and Andrew begins to open up to love and forgiveness. The portrayal of his new life is intriguing as readers follow the teen as he works in the cafeteria, makes friends with nurses and patients (particularly two cancer-afflicted teens), and visits and debates with the hospital chaplain, managing to flesh out a supportive shadow community in the absence of his family. The budding romance with Rusty is sensitively portrayed. But the tone through much of the novel is suffocatingly dark, the language cliched and florid. Sentiments such as, “hope is a scam” and “suffering is deserved,” quickly bog down the narrative. Chapters are interspersed with excerpts from Andrew’s comic, which is difficult to follow but even darker than the text and disconcertingly severe. The few sexual references are fairly tame, but repeated violence and dense emotional situations make this title best suited for older teens.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley broke my heart, then put it back together again. I truly loved this book.” (Bruce Coville)
“A wonderfully written book that is more proof that the genre of ‘LGBT YA lit’ simply knows no bounds.” (Brent Hartinger author of GEOGRAPHY CLUB)
“The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is as inventive as it is moving. A beautiful book.” (Trish Doller author of WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE)
“Hutchinson builds believable secondary characters and presents unexpectedly fresh plotting and genuine repartee—the conversations among Drew and his two teen friends feel particularly real and are full of insight and humor. Hutchinson remains an author worth watching.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Dark and frequently grim situations are lightened by realistic dialogue and genuineness of feeling. [A] heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful work from a writer to watch.” (Booklist)
“In this haunting tale of grief and recovery, [Hutchinson] spins an engrossing story, with Drew’s perceptions lending it an almost surreal, supernatural quality…further developed by violent excerpts from [the included graphic novel] Patient F.” (Publishers Weekly)