Anna had a unique beginning. She was a genetically engineered baby- selectively chosen to be a perfect matched blood donor for her older sister Kate, who was diagnosed at age 2 with a rare form of leukemia. Kate’s only hopes for survival being a blood/bone marrow donation, but her immediate family members were not compatible. Years pass and as Anna gets older, she begins to question her role as chief supplier of bloods cells to her sister. Now Kate needs a kidney, and Anna is not sure she wants to donate hers. Thus, this leads her to find an attorney, and sue her parents for medical “emancipation” – she wants to have the right to make these decisions about her body on her own. As one would expect, this shocks her parents, and puts Anna in a precarious position. Is it wrong for her to want to have a choice, knowing the weight of this choice? Kate’s life is in the balance and does a teen have the maturity needed to make such a decision?
This book is a thought provoker. Each chapter is told from a character’s point of view, so it’s easy to see everyone’s side of the story, but there are no easy answers to who is right and who is not. You ache for Kate, you feel the pain of the parents, you sense the frustration of the older brother, and you understand Anna’s dilemma. What would you do if it were you in any one of these character’s shoes? Be-awares consist of explicit language (including the F word), teenage drinking and delinquent behavior, and some mature/sexual situations. The book was a contagious read, but I walked away unhappy with the ending, and I bet I’m not the only one. Because of the language and mature situations I wouldn’t recommend the book for those younger than 17. The book has been made into a movie (rated pg-13).