‘Sick Kids in Love’ by Hannah Moskowitz – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It’s easier–
It’s safer–
It’s better–
–for the other person.

She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis.

But then she meets another sick kid.
He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor.
He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.

Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It’s complicated–
It’s dangerous–
It’s never felt better–
–to consider breaking that rule for him.

My Review

 I feel seen.

And in the best possible sense. 

This is own voices for chronic illness rep and it is seriously brilliant. 

Not only is this story utterly adorable and will fulfil any need you have in your life for a cute and fluffy story…

But it’s also authentic. I didn’t even know that was truly possible before this book. 

  • Sick kids in love. 
  • Sick kids being cute and adorable while being real and honest.
  • Sick kids taking ownership of their identity. 
  • Sick kids being allowed to be sick kids and not always having to be seen to be brave or be battling. 
  • Sick kids just living their best lives while being sick. 
  • Sick kids being funny.
  • Sick kids being sad.
  • Sick kids not having all the answers.
  • Sick kids being friends with other sick kids. 
  • Sick kids being friends with healthy kids. 
  • Sick kids choosing to go out and use up all their energy and thusly pay for it with more pain and fatigue the next day…and/or days after. 
  • Sick kids who don’t have to die to inspire the able bodied.
  • Sick kids who doubt their sicknesses. 
  • Sick kids who question their pain tolerance.
  • Sick kids who know their bodies and illnesses better than anyone else. 
  • Sick kids who fight for the right to be seen in a world full of invisible illnesses. 
  • Sick kids who dare to question if it’s better to look sick or look like everyone else.
  • Sick kids who get to fall in love. 
  • Sick kids who get to prove that everyone is deserving of love and that loving someone sick is not a good deed. It is not one person caring for the other in the manner of one tending to the other’s health. It is simply just love. 

I am sick. Have been for the majority of my life. My life is about management and not cure. 

  • I am sick and that is okay. You don’t have to pity me or be inspired by me. I am just sick. That is my normal. I still live a good life. 
  • I live with pain, with fatigue, with weakened immunity… 
  • But I also live with humour, with passions, with interests, with hopes, with dreams. 
  • I live with medications, medical aids, frequent trips to hospital. 
  • I require assistance for simple tasks but also have a firm grip on my independence. 
  • I am sick and I am okay with being sick. I have made my peace with it. 
  • I am sick and some days I am not okay with being sick. Some days there is no peace and that is okay too.
  • I am sick; it defines who I am and how I have to live. 
  • I am sick but it does not completely define me. 
  • I am a glorious medley of emotions and feelings, of hopes and dreams and am no different to anyone else. 

This book is mostly about society making its peace with those of us who are sick. This book shows how ableist well-intentioned, able-bodied people can be and how those of us who are sick come up against ableism at every corner. 

The book uses humour and romance to explore what it means to be sick through the eyes of Ibby (Isabel) who has rheumatoid arthritis. She meets a fellow sick kid, Sasha, who has Gaucher’s disease. 

And they hit it off… 

And what follows is the sweetest love story ever. 

It’s sensitive. It’s soft. It happens gently but in the most majestic of ways. 

And because of her relationship with Sasha and their kinship in knowing what it means to be sick, Ibby’s eyes are opened to another way of thinking. 

Or not really that she thinks differently. 

She just gains more courage and takes a stronger foothold into her own personhood. She begins to speak out about ableist attitudes that her friends and family have…they don’t mean to be ableist but best intentions don’t ultimately excuse the ignorant. 

I think I highlighted about fifty percent of this novel on my kindle. I just kept going yes!! I think this way. I have felt like that. Friends have said this to me etc etc. 

But what’s truly great is this book doesn’t paint all chronic illnesses with the one brush. It creates this sick person narrative that lets the reader know that those of us with chronic illness each experience life differently. That we are affected in a variety of ways. 

The book explores familial relationships between healthy and sick. It references the experiences of sick people with doctors, with not being taken seriously…a HUGE issue if you’re a teen girl with an invisible illness as I can attest to. 

If you want a sugary sweet romance with a hefty dollop of wit and a realistic view of how it feels to have a long term chronic illness then look no further than this brilliant book.

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22 thoughts on “‘Sick Kids in Love’ by Hannah Moskowitz – Book Review

  1. I can’t believe that I haven’t seen this review until now! Emer!! This is one of the best and most authentic reviews that I have read!!! 😱😍🥰 Thank you for sharing it with us! Seriously not even saying that because you’re one of my best blogger mates lol but wow, I’m so glad to hear that this book had such authentic rep and that the whole story was also so well done. When I first heard about this I immediately thought about whether you’d be reading it as I so wanted to hear your thoughts on it before deciding whether to pick it up. I’m so stoked to add it to my TBR 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dini!! (Easy miss my posts, I post twice a day every day lol!!! And somedays we just can’t physically get around to everyone’s posts. I know I’ve struggled this week)
      But absolutely read this book! It’s such great illness rep with a super cute story. Like the sweet romance mightn’t be super authentic because there’s a lot of melodrama…but it’s melodrama that doesn’t come from the illness rep. It’s melodrama like I expect from any other YA sugary sweet contemporary. And that’s what I loved. It normalised illness and places the crux of the plot elsewhere.
      And if you come across any illness rep books, ya or adult, always send those recs my way because I do love to read them. It’s simply impossible for me not to be curious of how they’re written :))))

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  2. OMG WHAT A BRILLANT REVIEW!! I definitely want to read this one, it is great that we are finally getting more rep for chronic ilnesses ! Plus it sounds so much more fun and cute than other books that explore the topic of chronic ilness or disability. I will definitely try to get this in the new year! 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!! And I know right!!!! I am forever banging on about good chronic illness rep and it’s just so great to read a book that gives authentic rep but also gives us the cute factor without sacrificing the illness narrative for some heteronormative version of an ending!!! This book is just soooo good!!! Needs to have more hype for sure :)))))

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, super happy you reviewed this! I AM SOOO GLAD that it is a cute story, with authentic rep, We definitely need more like this that normalises the life of people who are chronically ill like us!! Hopefully I can grab a copy after christmas and hype it up too!! 💜💜

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I just love how it doesn’t resort to the terrible inspo porn style narrative that so many books featuring chronic illness have. I swear if I get called brave or inspiring one more time for just living my life as best I can I’ll flip my lid lol!! I ain’t here to inspire the able-bodied. I’m just here to be myself. And that same attitude is what prevails throughout this read. I don’t like to always say that diverse reads need to be own voices because I like to think human beings as a collective are empathetic and can write authentically given research etc… But you just know this is own voices from the get go because there are things those of us with chronic illness / disability go through that the able-bodied community simply don’t know about, not to mind understand. <333

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It is very irritating when all the book boils down to is inspiration. I agree it gets very frustrating when you are just trying to live your life. It is nice to just see some normalisation of it in the media that goes beyond the surface level of what it means to be chronically ill.
            I agree- personally I don’t mind if an abled person writes a book about someone disabled or chronically ill if the representation is good, realistic and accurate but there is a certain level of understanding that you get from a writer who has the same or similar stuggles to you.
            It is definitely true, especially since lot of the struggles, or general issues we face happen behind closed doors (i.e. exhausting ourselves by forcing ourselves to go out only to then end up having to stay home for days/weeks etc..) not to mention the mental stress. Thus an own voice will be able to connect with that much better when writing. But, I also like to think on the whole humans are empathetic and can write a good story if they do the research. Plus, its nice to see diversity of the chronic illnesses, the media tends to draw on very specific illnesses over and over, so some diversity is nice to see too in regards to that element because sometimes it is physical and sometimes it is an invisible illness – all of which needs to be represented so it can be understood. I cannot wait to find a copy of this in the new year. 💜

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh my god I want to frame your comment!!!! YES TO ALL OF THIS!!!!!!
              Oh the pushing yourself to use up more spoons than you have and then paying that tax….. It’s the constant struggle isn’t it. So that’s one of the things I loved in this book. You saw the desires of the characters to do just general stuff but there was also A LOT of naps!!! And it’s just little details like that that really spoke to me.
              I even loved the title, sick kids in love. Because it takes ownership of that idea of being sick and is so unapologetic. I do hope you get a copy of it in the new year as I really can’t wait to hear your take on it KB. <3333

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Awhh!!! It is the small or ordinary things that often have a greater impact than expected on us so it will be nice to finally see it portrayed correctly! NAPS ARE SO IMPORTANT! I love the little details, they add the realism and reality while also a sense of normalisation ! AHH yess the title is wonderful!!! I live for the unapologetic ownership of our illnessess ! I hope I do too! Definitely want to and will try my hadest! Very excited to try this one out!! Thankyou for the rec, hun! 💜💜

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you did a review on this one as I was hoping you would! I was looking to read it but wanted your take on it first. (I value your opinion so much) Now to go find it at my library.

    Liked by 1 person

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