By Crystal Olague || Contributing Writer

In this week’s segment of Crystal’s Corner, I will be discussing one of my all-time favorite books, I Fell in Love with Hope by Lancali. This book is a beautifully written story about a young girl, Sam, who lives in a hospital because she is terribly ill with something readers aren’t told. The second you open the book, you are hit with one of the saddest lines ever written, “the love of my life wants to die,” who we find out has died within the first chapter. Just this line alone was enough for me to feel the pain that Sam is going through. As we move through the book, we learn that Sam has given up on love and has decided that she never wants to fall in love again, at the risk of losing her heart again. Despite saying this, Sam is able to give her heart again to three more people, C, Neo, and Sony, three kids who are also in the hospital for most of their lives for various reasons. 

Sony is a bright, bubbly young girl who loves to cheer people up and is the leader of the group, always making new plans for them to escape, gaining their last bits of freedom, despite her only having one lung. Neo is a beautiful writer who is plagued by a disease he can’t get rid of no matter how hard he tries, but uses his words to change the world and the people around him. And then there’s Coeur, the beautiful boy who gives his heart to everyone, but is losing his heart. 

This book is a love story where the themes of friendship, sadness, and family are explored. I bought this book because I love reading sad books, especially ones about love, but I have never been able to cry because of one. I found myself caring for these characters and their lives, praying that there would be a way to save all of them from their respective illnesses. This connection that readers can make with these characters makes it hard for us to watch these kids spend their lives in a hospital, find love, and watch it be ripped away from them. Reading this made me reflect on my life and the love I have in it because I realized I have been taking something so special for granted. This book made me want to romanticize all parts of my life with my friends, family, and the little things in life that other people do not have the chance to experience. Once I finally digested the book, I wanted to look at all the parts of my life that have love in it, and it strangely made me want to find “my person.” 

I think it’s important to recognize how lucky we are with simple things like this. I know at least for me, love wasn’t something I prioritized, and I only looked for it in books, but now I try to find love in everything. I try to find love when I take walks downtown, look at the sunset, hang out with my friends, form new relationships, and more. 

This is the most gut wrenching book I have ever read. I am not someone who typically cries while reading and still wants to finish, but there was something so special about this book that I could not put it down. It took me two days to read the entire book, and by the end of it, I was a broken shell of a human.

Junior Crystal Olague is a Contributing Writer. Her email is