Cover image for Sick kids in love
Sick kids in love
1st ed.
Physical Description:
317 pages ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Includes reading group guide.
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.


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Isabel has one rule: no dating.All the women in her family are heartbreakers, and she's destined to become one, too, if she's not careful. But when she goes to the hospital for her RA infusion, she meets a gorgeous, foul-mouthed boy who has her rethinking the no-dating rule and ready to risk everything.Aleksander is chronically ill, too, and there's a softer side underneath all his jokes. Isabel finds herself unraveling the secrets of a real person, rather than crowd-sourcing her decisions through her online column Sick Girl Wants to Know.They fall for each other hard and fast, but Isabel has known all along they were headed for disaster. When a devastating family secret threatens their love, can she find the strength to claim a brave new life with Aleksander, or will she retreat to the safety she's always depended on and break his heart?

Author Notes

Hannah Moskowitz wrote her first story, about a kitten named Lilly on the run from cat hunters, for a contest when she was seven years old. It was disqualified for violence. Her first book, Break, was on the ALA's 2010 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, and in 2013, Gone, Gone, Gone received a Stonewall Honor. 2015's Not Otherwise Specified was named the YA Bisexual Book of the Year. She lives in Maryland with several cats, none of whom are violent.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

The jacket art promises that "they don't die in this one," which is both a spoiler and a nod to popular YA books, notably The Fault in Our Stars. Sixteen-year-olds Isabel and Sasha meet in the hospital drip room: your basic meet-cute, except with discussions of whether their diseases are fatal. They aren't: #OwnVoices author Moskowitz (Teeth) is interested in what it's like to have a chronic illness that makes it hard to get to school every day, go out with friends, and show up for planned events. Isabel's a worrier who tries to manage her frustrations (her mother's absence, her father's consistent downplaying of her illness) by not talking about them. Adorable and funny Sasha, whose family is open about his illness, convinces Isabel to break her no-dating rule. Following the teens through relationship issues and health challenges makes for touching reading. Most refreshing is Moskowitz's ability to take up real issues connected to chronic illness without insisting that the kids who have them be either heroes or martyrs. Ages 14--up. (Nov.)

Kirkus Review

Two chronically ill teens navigate the joys and pitfalls of a relationship in this YA contemporary romance.Of all the places where 16-year-old Isabel Garfinkel could meet a cute boy, the Ambulatory Medical Unit at Linefield and West Memorial Hospital in the Queens borough of New York City,wouldn't seem the most likely. It's her second time in the "drip room," as it's called, where she gets monthly infusions to treat the rheumatoid arthritis that she's had for 11 years. This time, though, she can't help staring at a new patient therea boy her age named Sasha Sverdlov-Deckler. She likes his quirky, appealing looks and wry sense of humor, and they bond over the fact that they're both Jewish. Sasha has a rare genetic disorder called Gaucher disease, which isn't fatal, in his case, but causes severe anemia, weak bones, and other problems. Although Isabel has several close and well-meaning friends, she doesn't have anyone who really understands what it's like "to deal with the everyday slog of being sick." She and Sasha hit it off, but she's emotionally guarded and dislikes risks, and as a result, she doesn't date. Sasha is patient and sweet, and their romance growsamid a few arguments and setbacksthey forge a bond that gets them through their problems. As the advice columnist for her high school paper, Isabel asks questions and gathers others' responses; by the end of the novel, she's comfortable with not having all the answers. Moskowitz (Salt, 2018, etc.) does a splendid job of showing what the world looks like to the chronically but invisibly ill. For example, Isabel is often tired and aching, and she fears the judgment of others; she notes that even her physician father would question her getting a cab to go 15 blocks, a walkable distance for many, including people who are old or pregnant: "And people with arthritis who are just better than me." Overall, the excellent character development lends depth and sweetness to the romance. Isabel's relationship with Sasha helps her fight self-doubt and stand up for herself with laudable vigor, yet the novel never feels didactic. A highly recommended work that's thoughtful, funny, wise, and tender. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Like all the women in her family, absent mother included, Isabel is cursed when it comes to men. And she's got rheumatoid arthritis. Between these things and the newspaper column she diligently writes, Isabel believes she's better off not dating. So, when she meets the adorable, dogged, and also chronically ill Sasha during a regular infusion treatment at the hospital, she's committed to staying just friends. But as they spend more time together, just friends makes less sense, and Isabel has to decide whether it's worth breaking her rules for Sasha. In a story about embracing your whole self and taking responsibility for your choices, Moskowitz (Salt, 2018) has produced a guaranteed love-match for fans of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (2012) and Five Feet Apart (2019), by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Ianconis. Swoony with defined maturity, the narrative addresses the challenges of youthful romance with respect and understanding, folding in chronic illness with honesty and much-needed nuance. Thoughtful without being heavy-handed or improbable in its teen characterization, Sick Kids In Love has a cinematic feel reminiscent of mid-00s romantic comedies, without feeling dated. As aspects of modern culture blend with timeless themes, Moskowitz's latest boasts a staying power that should secure it a place in every teen collection.--Abby Hargreaves Copyright 2019 Booklist