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  • My Heart Fills with Happiness
  • Wolf Island

By author: Ellen Schwartz
Selling Points: "cancer, perseverance, friendship"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Oct/01/2010
Lexile Level: HL470L
Fry Reading Level: 2.3
Pages: 128
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $9.95
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"I'm afraid I have bad news, Brendan. It's leukemia."
It goes right by me. I don't even hear it. I'm so prepared to hear anything else—a virus, mono, meningitis, even avian flu—that it's only when my mom gasps that my mind backs up, rewinds the tape, and I actually hear what he just said.
I'm going to die.
It can't be.
It must be someone else.
Will it hurt?
Leukemia is for pathetic-looking bald kids with big eyes. Leukemia is for wasted bodies lying in hospital beds. Not me. Is there treatment? Is there a cure?
I'm going to die.

Brendan has it all—captain of the basketball team, good friends, a beautiful girlfriend and a loving family—until he is diagnosed with leukemia. Terrified and convinced that no one understands what he is going through, Brendan faces chemotherapy alone, until he meets Lark. She is also in treatment, although her condition is much worse, and yet she remains positive and hopeful. Brendan is torn between feeling sorry for himself and the love for life that Lark brings to even the simplest thing. Through Lark, he discovers the strength to go on, to fight for survival and to love.
School Library Journal - April 1, 2011
"Schwartz packs a lot of intensity into this slim novel, touching on the reality of what having cancer is like for teens, physically and emotionally." - March 12, 2011
"A very powerful and emotional book...Schwartz does an amazing job capturing the fear and heartache Brendan, and his family, undergo as he battles cancer in hopes of survival. I highly recommend this novel as it puts everything in perspective and will make you count your blessings. Five stars."
Booklist - January 1, 2011
"Schwartz captures the awkwardness and pain of those dealing with such a diagnosis, especially the patient...In this emotional entry in the Orca Soundings series, Lark's sweetness and wisdom spin out on a trajectory that readers just know will not end happily for her, even though Brendan knows she has touched his life mightily."
Library Media Connection - January 1, 2011
"This fast-moving book would be well-suited for reluctant readers at the high school level."
Tri-State YA Book Review Committee - January 1, 2011
"An excellent hi/lo portrayal of the physical and emotional effects of leukemia. The teen characters are believable and the writing is powerful."
Resource Links - October 1, 2010
"Has the ability to hook reluctant readers of both sexes as its main character struggles to accept his illness and the limitations it poses on his life, while offering hope for his survival physically and spiritually."
CM Magazine - September 17, 2010
"Genuinely moving."


TriState YA Review Group Book of Note, commended  US  2011
CCBC Best Books starred selection, commended  CA  2012


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Orca Soundings Resource Guide
SKU:  9549
Format: Spiral bound

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Teen fiction for
reluctant readers

Key Features:
Short, high-interest novels
Contemporary stories
Compelling characters
Linear plots
Ideal for Lit Circles
Ideal for Independent Reading

Teaching Resources:
Teachers' Guides
Resource Guide
Accelerated Reader selections
Lexile levels

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