The Arrival of Someday – Jen Malone – HarperTeen – Published 23 July 2019
Hard-charging and irrepressible eighteen-year-old Amelia Linehan could see a roller derby opponent a mile away—and that’s while crouched down, bent over skates, and zooming around a track at the speed of light. They don’t call her Rolldemort for nothing! What she couldn’t see coming, however, was the unexpected flare-up of a rare liver disorder she was born with. But now it’s the only thing she—and everyone around her—can think about.
With no guarantee of a viable organ transplant, everything Amelia’s been sure of—like her college plans, the mural she’d been commissioned to paint, or the possibility of one day falling in love—has become a huge question mark, threatening to drag her down into a sea of what-ifs she’s desperate to avoid.
Then a friend from the past shows up. With Will, it’s easy to forget about what’s lurking underneath the lightness of their time together. It’s easy to feel alive when all signs point elsewhere. On the other hand, with the odds decidedly not in her favor, Amelia knows this feeling couldn’t last forever. But what can?
I love books that make me cry. I also love books that can make me smile. And The Arrival of Someday had me doing both. I often call books uplifting. The Arrival of Someday goes past uplifting (though, that fits too) and is totally inspiring. It is surprising (that ending literally come out of nowhere and smacked me across the face), it is fun (simply a pleasure to sit down with and enjoy), and it combines everything I love about really good YA contemporary fiction – family, friendship and self-realisation.
Lia loves a good cause. Raising awareness, taking on the school board, even a good rally. She also loves roller derby and it’s for good reason they call her Rolldemort. With early entry into her college of choice, a mural competition awarded and awaiting completion and her best friend Sibby by her side, Lia’s life is good. Until she discovers that her liver disease, something she has had all her life, worsens and leaves Lia needing a liver transplant – and soon. Lia must navigate the transplant waiting list while trying to decide how she feels about putting some things in her life on hold and sorting out her family and friends’ reactions to her diagnosis.
Written in first person, The Arrival of Someday places the reader directly in Lia’s head and invites them to share her journey. While centred around the undeniably traumatic process of diagnosis, waiting on a transplant list and fear of an uncertain future, The Arrival of Someday has an upbeat and enjoy-the-sunshine tone. That’s thanks mostly to Lia herself. No moping for her. She’s going to continue living her life even if it kills her (and yes, she’s well aware of how many sayings bring up death). Lia and her best friend Sibby (who’s Aussie and is awesome) take no prisoners. They triumph on and off the roller derby court, yet the routine of their friendship is challenged by Lia’s diagnosis and the different ways in which they girls decide to face the challenge ahead. Watching the girls work through these changes, challenge each other and also simply enjoy each other’s company was a wonderful part of this book.
I do love a good bit of romance in books and yet I was really happy that there wasn’t all that much romance in this book. Even calling it romance seems a bit of a stretch. It’s more like light-hearted flirting and it is exactly what Lia and this book needs. Instead of romantic love, The Arrival of Someday is focused around familial love. Lia has a great relationship with her parents but the waiting forces them to open up about how they love each other, how they process things, how they cope – forcing them to speak things that might otherwise go unsaid.
Organ donation is obviously a key theme of this book and is championed by all the characters, especially Sibby. The author’s note reveals how much extra care and detail is hidden in the story, including character names honouring the names of donors and people who have been instrumental in supporting and raising awareness of organ donation and the lives it saves.
I know my library readers will love this book and it’s going to be easy to give to readers who enjoy tear-jerkers and beautifully inspiring books. The Arrival of Someday will easily sit alongside books written by Abigail Johnson, Francesca Zappia and Jeff Zentner.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Organ donation, transplantation, liver disease, roller derby, friendship, family, death, dying, art, murals.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Vague sexual relationships and innuendo. Coarse language, f*** (19), sh** (19), pi** (7), as***** (3), bit** (1).
Published: 23 July 2019 by HarpenTeen
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 352 pages.