Review: Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist by John Young

Farewell Tour of a Terminal OptimistTitle: Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

Author: John Young

Pages: 288 Pages

Pubisher: Floris Books

The Blurb

Quick-witted, sharp-tongued Connor Lambert won’t take it any longer: the bullying, the secrets, the sympathy. He’s been dying from cancer for years, but he’s not dead yet. He’s going down fighting.

Forming an unlikely friendship with fellow juvenile delinquent Skeates, the pair stage a break out and set off on a crazy tour across Scotland — dodging the police, joy riding and extreme partying — to find Connor’s dad, an inmate at Shotts prison.

But Connor’s left two things behind — the medication he needs to keep him alive, and the girl who makes living bearable.

A fresh and bold debut novel full of heart, guts and raw emotion. Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist is a brilliantly funny, thrilling exploration of friendship, identity and mortality populated with witty, sharply drawn characters.

The Review

One trend in YA fiction is to give the main character a medical condition. It’s not new but it has been happening a lot. In John Young’s Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist his protagonist Connor Lambert has cancer. It is never going to go away, he is just managing it.

This isn’t the only thing that Connor has going on with his life. His father is in prison and no one will tell him why. His mum works all the hours of the day and his younger sister was killed when he was younger. Basically, his family life is in a mess.

Connor and the school bully Skeates go on a wacky adventure to try and find Connor’s dad in prison. It is the first time in his life that he hasn’t allowed his cancer to dictate his life. This, for me was the most relatable thing about Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist. I have a chronic condition and I often let it control my life. Young really got that right.

Unlike some books of the YA/illness genre the book isn’t set to pull at your heartstrings. It celebrates friendship and making the most of life. It is a really uplifting read.

Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist by John Young is available now.

For more information regarding John Young (@jonhyoungauthor) please visit

For more information regarding Floris Books (@FlorisBooks) please visit

35 Stars

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