A first kiss. Falling in love. Going to prom. These are all normal things that most teenagers experience. Except for 17-year-old David Hart. His life is anything but normal and more difficult than most. Because of the disease that wracks his body, David is unable to feel pain. He has congenital insensitivity to pain with anhydrosis—or CIPA for short. One of only a handful of people in the world who suffer from CIPA, David can’t do the things every teenager does. He might accidentally break a limb and not know it. If he stands too close to a campfire, he could burn his skin and never feel it. He can’t tell if he has a fever and his temperature is rising. Abandoned by his parents, David now lives with his elderly grandmother who is dying. When David’s legal guardian tells him that he needs to move into an assisted living facility as he cannot live alone, David is determined to prove him wrong. He creates a bucket list, meets a girl with her own wish list, and then sets out to find his parents. All David wants to do is grow old, beat the odds, find love, travel the world, and see something spectacular. And he still wants to find his parents. While he still can.

  • 304 Pages
  • 5.50" x 8.25"
  • 9780807562888
  • March 2015

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 304 Pages
  • 5.5" x 8.25"
  • 9780807562901
  • May 2016

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 9780807562895
  • May 2015

Other Places to Buy


  • Harazin writes David’s narration with understatement, giving him both thoughtfulness and conceptual limitations that are plausible for someone with his constrained existence.

    - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • This story cleverly portrays one extraordinary teen’s authentic—and yes, painful—struggle for love, redemption, and independence. In addition to being a writer, Harazin is a registered nurse, and her medical expertise adds a note of straightforward honesty as she describes David’s struggle with a rare, but real, disease.

    - Booklist

  • Harazin effectively combines typical teen angst with actual life-threatening consequences. The heightened emotions David experiences are felt all the more when considering they may be his last.

    - Kirkus Reviews

  • Harazin adeptly evokes moments of joy, heartbreak, and introspection, all amplified by David’s awareness that he is living on “borrowed time.”

    - Publishers Weekly

  • This will appeal to teens who are fans of the current wave of The Fault in Our Stars read-alikes.

    - VOYA

  • Teens will keep turning pages to learn if David completes his bucket list, ends up in a home, or gets the girl. They ultimately will learn, along with David, that a life without pain also means a life without pleasure and that some experiences are worth the risks.

    - School Library Journal

Common Core

RL.11-12.1,2,3,4,5,6,10 SL.11-12.1,1a,1b,1c,1d,3,4,6 L.11-12.3,4,4a,4c,4d,5,5a,5b,6 W.11-12.4,5,6,7,8,9,10