"Kate Benchworth."

Essay by hoellwarthJunior High, 9th gradeA-, November 2005

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Fourteen-year-old Kate Benchworth isn't like other kids her age. When she starts suffering from debilitating headaches, she visits her doctor, who delivers stunning news: Kate is dying. She has an inoperable brain tumour that could end her life at any moment.

As her family and the members of the small community she lives in struggle to accept her diagnosis, Kate becomes determined to make the most of the time she has left. She falls in love with the boy locked up in the local jail and befriends the town recluse. Valerie Sherrard's new novel is a moving tale about a young woman experiencing the best days of her life, all the while aware that the time she has left is rapidly disappearing.

I read Kate together with my book club at school. I recommended it in the first place, already having read Mrs. Sherrard's Shelby Belgarden mysteries (which I loved).

It was a quick and wonderful read. I found that when I was reading, it became increasingly harder to put it down. I'd even neglect my homework to continue reading it.

Kate is so real - and incredibly brave. She was fourteen, and she was dying. Having someone so young, under the worst circumstances, being so optimistic about life was just incredible. I also enjoyed reading about her life - her parents, her falling-out with her best friend Josie, the town recluse (whom Kate befriends), and who could forget Randy, Kate's love interest. Everything tied in together nicely, and I liked the diary first-person format. It made everything that much more personal and real.

The other members of the book club also enjoyed the book. We all thought Kate was admirable - someone to be highly commended for her bravery, strength, and overall...