Book of the month – November: I Fell in Love with Hope

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Katelyn Fonkert

Lancali’s self-published debut novel, I Fell in Love with Hope by Lancali

Katelyn Fonkert, Reporter

I Fell in Love with Hope by Lancali is a self-published debut novel and was released on Aug. 1, 2022. This book has been slowly gaining popularity on social media over the month, and that is how I came to read this amazing novel.

Five teenagers live in a hospital due to their terminal diseases and try their best to live their lives as best they can. Through the novel the narrator, Sam, we get to see what life is like for these teens and how they grapple with life with their diseases while still trying their best to be normal kids. We see them experience the ups and downs of living the lives they were given and how they make the best of them, even in the worst of times.

Sony, Neo, Coeur, Hikari and Sam all like to steal from the hospital cafeteria, the nearby gas station, among other things. They steal to feel more alive and feel the rush of adrenaline, but they also steal as a way to steal back what the world has stolen from them: a normal life, carefree of illness.  They are family to each other; they have had to overcome and go through so much together and have stuck by each other through thick and thin. They have all been there for each other on the good and bad days, the surgeries, treatments, meals, stealth missions, and adventure.

The narrator, Sam, works through his grief throughout the entire novel. Before he met Sonny, Neo, Coeur and Hikari, they had their first love who was also named Sam. Sam passed away and the narrator gave up on hope and the possibility of being able to love again, because of the immense pain they felt from Sam’s death.

This book explores the theme of grief and how to overcome it to find hope again. At the beginning Sam is always negative and is always trying not to give others too much hope because they now believe that in a hospital there is no hope due to the amount of death he has witnessed, especially Sam’s death. Even though it’s been years since Sam’s death he still carries the pain and hopelessness, and it isn’t until Hikari arrives at the hospital that he starts to see a small glimmer of hope, of a chance of love for the first time in a long time.

As the story progresses, we see Sam go from an empty soul to a person who’s filled with hope once again. The way the author captures this character’s development throughout the book is just breathtaking, because of how accurately she describes the healing process of grief, and how it takes time. The way Lancali writes is so beautiful, because she can really capture emotions well and make you feel the pain the characters feel. She can make you feel sad, broken, hopeless, hopeful, joyful and everything in between.

While I absolutely love this book, it does deal with some pretty heavy topics that can be hard to stomach at times, so I’m going to list some of the trigger warnings down below. 

Trigger warnings: Mental health, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal ideology, suicide.

Overall, I thought this book was absolutely amazing, it was so beautifully written, and the character development was golden. I think everyone should read this at least once in their life. It’s a heartbreaking novel, but with all the pain for all the in between moments; for all the heists and adventures, for all the shared smiles and laughter, for all the moments shining bright with hope.

5/5 read.