McInnes, Nicole. 100 Days. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9780374302849. 387 pages. Grades 8-12. P7Q8
100 Days chronicles the struggles, conquests, amusements, and inevitabilities between three unlikely friends as the chapters count down from Day 100 to Day 1. One of the three friends, Agnes, suffers from progeria, a genetic mutation characterized by rapidly aging cells that results in premature death. It is rare for those with progeria to live past the age of 13; Agnes is almost 16. It is no mystery that the countdown (each chapter is written in the voice of one of the three teenage friends, the first of which is titled Day 100) terminates in Agnes’s death. While having a 16-year-old friend with progeria is not very relatable—there have only been 140 progeria cases in medical history; the relationships between the three misfit characters and their families are what connect the reader to the story. Readers will also find the cruelty and lack of effort shown on the part of fellow high school students within the story to be unfortunately life-like. The ineluctable storyline concludes with Agnes’s death, accelerated by her resolve to live more like the 16-year-old she is than the 80-year-old she resembles—further urging young readers to resist two-dimensional judgments of others.
Verdict: Though the characters are sixteen, I think younger readers stand to benefit more from the story. It is nice to encounter characters who experience common insecurities, not adhering to typical hero/heroine stereotypes. This book may be helpful for young readers who have experienced a loss.
February 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.