Welcome to my stop on the Following Zippy Blog Tour hosted by IFB Tours. Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule.
Title: Following Zippy
Author: C.B. Burdette
Publication date: July 2014
Publisher: Flower Child Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source: Copy for review
At fifteen most kids only have to worry about their homework or the style of their shoes. Gabe Perkins isn't most kids. When diagnosed with a terminal illness, he begins to make friends with a girl so ethereal, he starts to question his own sanity.
"Look at those fish," she said, diverting her attention towards the creek.
"What about them?"
"They're just swimming along. Living and breathing. I wonder," she said as she nudged her shoulder against mine, "if they know what purpose they serve."
"Well, they probably don't."
"Because, they're fish?"
"Don't think so low of the marine species."
"Zippy, they're little minnows. They're so little they probably only live a few months. Why worry about their place in life?"
"I don't know. Something of the simplicity of them is nice, though, you must admit." She gleamed ear to ear. "Imagine, if you were a little minnow, swimming down the creek."
"Do you really think there's something out there that really cares about those little fish? Or even, you know, if something out there is looking down at us, talking about us like we're little fish? As if we're just tiny little minnows swimming down a stream, unsure of what fate lies ahead of us?"
At only fifteen years old, Gabe finds out he has a terminal illness, and his reactions are realistic and heartbreaking. I can only imagine I'd deal with the diagnosis the same way he dealt with it. His wit and candor made me laugh at times and other times I wanted to slap him for hurting his mom's feelings. Around the same time he's diagnosed, he begins seeing a girl with wavy golden hair named Zippy and is the only one who can see her. People think he's hallucinating, and even he begins to think that himself due to the nature of his illness.
It's hard to have hope while things look so bleak, but Zippy gives Gabe something no one else has - the insight that he could be spending what he has left of his life in a way that gives meaning to him and those around him. My favorite scene between the two of them is when they're talking about whether fish know what purpose they serve, and the conversation turns to whether human beings know their purpose. I thought it was a clever comparison - aren't we like those fish? Couldn't we be like them with someone we might not even be able to see wondering if we know our purpose?
For me, Following Zippy is really easy to talk about and review, but I struggled with rating it. There are a lot of mistakes editing can fix - such as punctuation errors, you're versus your, and incorrect grammar - but the story was so compelling to me, I flew through the pages. I would have easily been able to give Following Zippy five stars had there not been the mistakes either missed by editing or if the book was edited at all. I wanted, no, I needed to know if Zippy was a hallucination and what was going to happen to Gabe. Just looking at the cover makes me happy knowing what story lies within its pages, and for that, I'm giving Following Zippy four stars.
I grew up a gypsy at my parents hands. With a dad in the Air Force, I got to experience life on the road, soaking up culture. After spending 6 years working as a model, I realized that the industry wasn't much of what I was looking for in life. More often than not I felt like Jo Stockton in Funny Face and escaped into the world of film, where your job is based on something more than beauty. Though I do love 12 hour days on set, there's nothing like snuggling up with a warm laptop and letting my fingers dance away to create a whole new world.
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