#Teen tonic # Something I’m good at by Caroline Andrus

Summer Swanson has been diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, which means her body turns against itself instead of fighting infections. Summer used to dream of becoming a make-up artist, but now she won’t even sigh up to help with the school play, because what if she has a flare-up, and lets everybody down at a crucial moment. She has also given up her place at a volleyball team as well as her other extra-curricular activities. Summer’s also lost her best friend who betrayed her with Summer’s boyfriend. That’s a lot to take on in a short time, so perhaps she can be excused for trying to sort her feelings on her own. One thing she knows for sure: she doesn’t want to be labelled The sick girl, so she keeps her lupus secret.

Kane is adorable and somewhat accident-prone as far as any sport activity is concerned. He spends a lot of time mastering skateboard tricks with his loyal friends Mark and Abigail, mostly without much success, but with some spectacular falls and a few broken bones. During his trip to the hospital, he meets and talks to Summer, who despite going to the same high-school wasn’t even aware of his existence.

Kane has never been good at anything apart from making people laugh. Will he be able to bring a smile back on Summer’s face? How do you make a beautiful girl like this agree to go out with you? Kane’s mom thinks you have to be romantic and respectful at the same time and things will work out. Luckily, Kane has lots of fantastic ideas and is full of enthusiasm.

Should Summer take a chance on Kane as well as giving herself a chance for happiness despite her disease?  Should she keep her lupus a secret from Kane, her new friends, and everybody else at the school? Or is it a recipe for a heartbreak which is going to come sooner or later?

I didn’t know much about lupus before reading this book, but it did make me look it up and reflect on how difficult it must have been for the main character to adjust to her new life situation. It was great to have a main character who is sweet, kind and strong, but not exactly flawless as far as her decisions are concerned.

If you want to know about lupus and it’s symptoms you can visit this website:

 I had a slightly harder time with Kane. I thought he was cute, immature and a bit too persistent. After all, Summer did have good reasons to keep her distance. I would have preferred them being friends for longer time, so that Summer would have had a chance to get to know him better, which would have made her burgeoning feelings for Kane more plausible. As it was, were these feelings for Kane or for the sense of normality that had been missing for her life since her diagnosis?

Overall, it was a light enjoyable summer read, and I will definitely be checking out other titles in this new series.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Do you know any teenagers who suffer from lupus or another chronic disease? how easy or difficult was it for them to adjust to new life after their diagnosis?

Join the Conversation


  1. This sounds interesting, I’ve added it to my TBR (: I think books, and the films based on them too (I’ve recently seen Two Feet Apart which immediately came to mind) can be quite eye opening about various diseases and just how great an impact they can have on a person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Debjani! The disease side of the story was really well-written esp. Describing her chronic tiredness and determination to make it through her lessons at school, to live her life as normally as possible. As far as their relationship is concerned, I don’t know if I am too traditional or not traditional enough😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a well written book about something that needs more attention. I have a friend with lupus and it is amazing how it has changed her life. Teenage relationships tend to happen pretty quick, they are in love one week, moved on the next. I have not read this book, but it is one I will watch for at my library. Great review Toni.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carla! I don’t know anyone with lupus, but the description of how tired the girl would get, her joints pains, the necessity to take care not to catch infections, the medication that cannot be missed- all these stuck in my mind. I don’t know anyone with lupus, but all these adjustment difficulties would also apply to somebody who’s been diagnosed with diabetes, which is becoming more and more common.

      Liked by 1 person

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