"RADIATE" follows the semi-fictional story of Hayley Matthews. A high school student about to start her senior year. Up till now, Hayley has been content as a trumpet player in the school marching band. But she realizes this is it – her last hurrah. She wants to do something “MORE” for her senior year. Instead of being "just another blur" in the marching band for her high school curtain call, Hayley decides to try out for varsity cheerleader. Against all odds she lands a place on the squad, and her high school life will never be the same. She gains instant popularity - not to mention the attention of the star player on the football team.
Everything starts out perfect. She’s the consummate cheerleader; giving it her all and working hard. Then one day during summer cheerleading practice, Hayley discovers a lump in her left calf muscle. At first she brushes it off, but when it persists, she brings it to the attention of her concerned parents who take her to the family doctor to have it diagnosed.
That diagnosis is worse than anyone could imagine. Hayley has a rare form of bone cancer and the prognosis is to have the tumor removed immediately. This means a lengthy hospital stay for the remainder of the summer - meaning she'll miss cheerleading camp. This does not sit well with the captain of the squad, who considers voting her off the squad.
Hayley ends up keeping her place on the squad; cheering on the sidelines that fall with crutches and an bandaged leg. But her struggles are just starting. She has to work extra hard to fit in with the student body as a bald, post-chemo therapy cheerleader. Her parents experience financial difficulties from her mounting medical bills. There is friction and drama with her family, and yes - with her boyfriend as well.
I won't give away anymore of the story except to say that if this book doesn't make you cry multiple times, you have no soul!
This is an incredible coming of age story, and when you factor in that its based in large part on the authors own, personal battle with cancer back in 1982, the story becomes that much MORE poignant, deep and inspiring.
Go to the books official website - http://radiatebook.com - and check out the book trailer video.