Painless by S. A. Harazin
A first kiss. Falling in love. Going to prom. These are all normal things that most teenagers experience. Except for 17-year-old David Hart. His life is anything but normal and more difficult than most. Because of the disease that wracks his body, David is unable to feel pain. He has congenital insensitivity to pain with anhydrosis--or CIPA for short. One of only a handful of people in the world who suffer from CIPA, David can't do the things every teenager does. He might accidentally break a limb and not know it. If he stands too close to a campfire, he could burn his skin and never feel it. He can't tell if he has a fever and his temperature is rising. Abandoned by his parents, David now lives with his elderly grandmother who is dying. When David's legal guardian tells him that he needs to move into an assisted living facility as he cannot live alone, David is determined to prove him wrong. He creates a bucket list, meets a girl with her own wish list, and then sets out to find his parents. All David wants to do is grow old, beat the odds, find love, travel the world, and see something spectacular. And he still wants to find his parents. While he still can
Publishes in US: March 1st 2015 by Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: ya contemp (teen with illness)
Source: AW Teen via Edelweiss
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
Buy it: Amazon IndieBound Book Depository Barnes and Noble
Author stalk away: ~site
I wanted to read Painless from the first time I saw the premise. I am drawn to books about teens with illnesses. I have never read a book about anhydrosis or CIPA, but have seen a House episode. LOL. I am diagnosed with somewhat of the opposite... a neurological condition where my body doesn't process pain signals correctly, and I feel pain more than normal, especially in the muscles. I know that CIPA is much more dangerous because you can get burned and not know it, or be sick and not really have indication.
David is an intriguing character and a walking paradox. He has learned so many tricks to keep himself from hurting himself, getting too hot, and to appear somewhat normal. But he balances these things with acts of recklessness.
It is more of an emotional story than I bargained for. I figured some because of his illness, and the hint that his parents had left him. But for me the most heartbreaking and touching part at the same time was his relationship with his grandma, Nanna. She cares so much for him, and has taken care of him. His mom left when David was a baby, and his dad, Nana's son left when he was school aged. There was a certain amount of mystery there, if they couldn't handle him, or somehow he was better off with his grandparents.
His Nana is getting old though, and as the book progresses her dementia gets worse. She still loves him fiercely though, and he does the best to make sure she is getting the best care. Their relationship made me even more emotional because of how close I was with my grandma, and how she raised me for a good part of my life. She also had dementia and it was so sad to watch the decline. Anyways, her lawyer and power of attorney as well as guardian of David as she can't make decisions has made sure that she gets medical care, but also that David has an assistant to make sure he doesn't get too hot since he can't feel it, but also can't sweat to cool down, and help him do injury checks, his bp, pulse, ears, throat, etc.
His best friend and also helper for years is graduating and going to college, so David gets Luna, a nursing assistant hoping to get her PhD. They develop the working relationship first, and then a friendship as she helps him to experience more of life than he has before, but figuring out ways to do it more safely. There is something mysterious about her and I had some theories but none were exactly right. Their relationship was in question for me a lot, but it was nice that a romance wasn't forefront.
I liked the ending in a way, but it was pretty open ended in a few areas. I liked the growth and balance that David reached.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you have any sensitivity or in-sensitivities to pain?