Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.
Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps 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.
Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.
But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.
But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY by Shaun David Hutchinson is a touching story about a boy who has lost his family, lives in the hospital, and tries to find a purpose in life. He serves food in the cafeteria, hangs out with the nurses in the ER, and visits the sick kids/teens in the pediatrics. All while he draws an epic graphic novel/comic about an anti-superhero depicting himself.
I thought that THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY was extremely well written. I loved Hutchinson’s style of writing, as well as his story telling capabilities. The story was tragic, heart breaking, funny, loving, and inspiring. It’s a story like this one that needs to be told.
It references topics like bullying, acceptance, LGBT lives, love, death, and so much more. Andrew as a main character was truly inspiring to me. We see him go through so much as the story progresses that you can’t help but care deeply about him, the loss that he’s suffered, and the blurry future that’s ahead of him. The same goes for Rusty, Lexi, and Trevor.
The most important subject this book talks about is death. Death is all around us. It’s inevitable, and there is nothing we can do about it. We have to accept the fact that things happen for a reason, and we can’t always be the hero that saves the day.
Andrew Brawley is such a tortured soul. After losing his parents in a dangerous accident, he takes up residence at the hospital as a way to pay his penance. He is very selfless and everything he does it’s for the sake of someone else. I truly admired him and found him to be quite relatable. His love story with Rusty wasn’t pushed or forced. It was perfect. It’s not everyday that you can fall in love with someone that has physical deformities such as burns, but that is the kind of character Andrew is. He wanted to do everything in his power to save Rusty, even if it meant putting his life at risk.
Finally I want to talk about the graphic novel portion of the story. After certain chapters we get to see the story that Andrew created. It helps paint the picture of how he is truly feeling when he’s too afraid to admit it out loud. He feels everything that happened was his fault and it really showed through the character that he created in his world. It was a great addition to the over all story and it wouldn’t be what it is without it. It adds a little bit more to the setting and lets you see inside Andrew’s mind.
THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY was a truly touching coming of age story. With a lot of angst, sadness, cuteness, hope, and love, this book has everything to offer.
Jesse is a 20 something college student/server and dwells in Toronto, Canada. He enjoys reading about fantastical worlds, listening to KPOP, and being a couch potato.
What are your thoughts? What are some ways you used to cope with the loss of a family member? Do you have that one person that you can confide in about anything? Let me know in the comments below!