on June 3, 2013
Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.
She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.
Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives.
For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her. But secrets have a way of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?
“He brought his head down it mine, so our noses were almost touching. ‘I’ll tell you a secret, I’ll sell you a song,’ he sang softly; the same song from the bar. ‘Someday I’ll tell you, and take you back home where you belong.’”
“I ate my first needle when I was seven.”
My Musings: I went into this novel without knowing exactly what to expect—what was wrong with this girl who swallowed a needle at the age of seven? Will she find peace? After a few turnoffs at the beginning of the novel, I ended up falling in love with this book—not necessarily all of it, but enough for me to rate this novel as one of the best that I’ve read.
This novel affected me differently than others that I have read. Although it did have romance in it, the romance was not as big of a focus that I was accustomed to. It was weird at first, but I was eventually drawn into the actual story of the novel, one that revolved around a girl with a penchant for being sick finding herself.
Saylor Grayson has a disease. Well, not so much a disease as a mental disorder. You see, Saylor likes being sick. She likes the attention that it gets her; the feeling of being worth something. So much to where she makes herself sick—poisoning, injecting herself with saliva, you name it. This aspect was a real turn off for me in the beginning of the novel. Saylor’s injecting herself with spit in order to cultivate abscesses made me very nauseous, and that’s saying something, because I aspire to be a doctor. But I think what made it horrible for me was the fact that she enjoyed it. That was something that kept me somewhat distanced from Saylor’s character; it was actually very disturbing most of the time:
“I appreciated disease the way it was meant to be appreciated. I courted it because I worshiped its awesome power.”
But Saylor managed to change over the course of the novel. Although her new friendships and relationships were all based on lies, they really did help her, and for that, I am glad. She genuinely cared for her new-found friends, and they helped her to mature and put her on the track for recovery.
I really liked Drew’s character. Drew was a sweet guy. He wasn’t your typical book boy, because he was sick. And the fact that SK Falls managed to write a sick boy character that seemed just as swoon worthy as any other able guy, was a real talent. Half of the time I forgot that he had a cane and was losing bodily control. It was his personality that made him an attractive character, and I’m so sorry that things ended the way that they did at the end of the novel.
The supporting characters were also crucial to my love of this story. The secondary characters were all terminally ill, like Drew. But to see them living life to the fullest was amazing. Although they were only characters in a book, they gave me a new outlook on the lives of the terminally ill. To see them look at life in a positive manner was simply amazing. They were funny, they were supportive, and they accepted Saylor with no hesitation. They were there for each other, and they were very, very strong characters.
A Secret for a Song attacked the hard topic of terminal illnesses and mental illnesses. SK Fall’s take on these things were unique; I had never read anything like it before (although I have yet to read The Fault in Our Stars!). It was a beautiful story about just wanting to be loved and to fit in, but also about the fact that life is what you make it (I knew Hannah Montana was on to something!). It was a fantastic story that you will more than likely enjoy, as long as you can get through the queasy parts, of course!