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Publisher's Summary

The Fault In Our Stars meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.

Until Polina arrives.

She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.

She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.

This program features a bonus interview with the author.

©2016 Scott Stambach (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartbreaking yet hilarious

This is a heartbreaking yet, at times, hilarious story that is probably more real than we know. The main character, Ivan, is wicked smart, sarcastic, and riddled with fears (as he should be living institutionalized his whole life). Yet, so many of his fears are common to life and growing up. His description of life in the hospital and the other residents were horrifying and hilarious, reminding us that sometimes things are so bad you have to laugh. My only criticism of this book is that I don't think a whole, prolonged scene about oral sex is appropriate material for a young adult book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Quino
  • Chesapeake, VA
  • 11-13-17

1932 Movie "Freaks" but with a Acerbic Narrator

Ivan is a 17-year-old orphan in Belarus, and he lives in a home for kids affected by the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. While Ivan is severely deformed, he is brilliant, insightful, rude and sarcastic - and then he falls in love. This funny, dysfunctional, brilliant, beautiful coming-of-age story is both heart-breaking and heartwarming. Stop whatever you are doing right now and order this book. Trust me.
AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book

This book is fascinating. It was written by a 17 year old boy who lacked a formal education yet was extraordinarily gifted in literary writing. At a specific time of his life he was compelled to write about his struggles and love and life. His ability to draw me into his life by writing so clearly, logically and descriptively was a pleasure. I found it difficult to believe that his story was true. I was fascinated that the tale/story/autobiography was written in Russia and revealed a life of a handicapped young man living in an institution but clearly thriving despite the hand he was dealt.

Do not hesitate to read this story of perseverance, love and life. It will inspire you and hold you even after you've heard or read the last words. Enjoy!!!!