Sharing Sam by Katherine Applegate - Sam is gorgeous and Alison can't resist him. So when Sam asks her to the Valentine's Day dance she is elated, until she finds out her dying friend Isabella, has fallen for him too. She wants Isabella's last days to be happy, even if she and Sam have to hide their love. But can they keep it secret? From Amazon UK
Sharing Sam is a very sweet, very short novel which explores the brilliant bond of friendship in arguably the worst scenario friends can find themselves in. Alison seriously fancies new boy Sam, and Sam returns her feelings. However, Alison's best friend, Izzy, likes him too - and she's dying from a brain tumour. With the desire that her best friend's last few months are happy, Alison asks Sam to go out with Izzy instead, even though he's not interested and it will hurt her.
At 183 pages (my edition - which has a different cover from the one shown above. I couldn't find a quality image of my cover, which is the one you see below), Sharing Sam is really short. Because of this, it's a little difficult to get emotionally involved; before you know it, the book is over. Although there is a complete story, it feels like you only scratch the surface of who these people are. In an ideal world, the book would have been a lot longer, with more chances to see how difficult it is for all the characters; Izzy being ill, Izzy and Sam together, Alison seeing them together. It's these instances that would really draw the reader into how sad the story is, if only there was a bit more meat to the book.
Saying all this, it's not a bad story. It's actually really quite sweet. Seeing Alison and Sam together at the beginning, you can't help but smile, they really are just adorable. But what's wonderful is that Alison "happily" hands Sam over to Izzy to make her happy, even though it hurts her. Sometimes it does seem like Alison is only cares about Izzy, and seems to forget Sam has issues - quite big issues - of his own to deal with. And on top of thos issues making his life hard, Alison wants Sam to stay away from the girl he wants and go out with another - a girl who is going to die he inevitably starts having feelings for. Yes, her best friend is going to die, and it's really sad, but she just seems to push Sam into it, not caring much about how he feels, because they can be together once Izzy's gone... it just seems a bit much. Though I guess you can take the view point that because of her encouragement, Sam ends up getting to know and care for such a wonderful person, and gets to have her in his life.
That is the main focus of the story, their relationships and Izzy's happiness. We don't find out too much about Izzy's tumour or her treatment. All we really know is she's going to die, and Alison wants her happy while she's alive. And although it's a short story that only scratches the surface, that's what stays with you, their love and friendship. Hours after finishing the book I was still thinking about it, but how could I not be? It really makes you think, could I do that? Give up the one thing you want more than anything, sacrifice your own happiness, so your best friend can spend her last temaining days smiling in bliss? It's a question I must admit I struggle with, as bad as that sounds, but it makes me admire Alison's strength and bravery and love. I think it's just brilliant.
Despite it's length and not giving me as much as I would have liked to see, Sharing Sa, is still a really good book, and I loved reading it. I really recommend you give this book a go, it's brilliant.
Publisher: Bantam Children
Buy on Amazon US
Katherine Applegate's Website