Book Review, Cancer, Dying, Suicide, YA Fiction

The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair by Michael F. Stewart


Seventeen years old. Rich. Hot. Captain of the Drone War team. Head prefect of a surreally elite boarding school. Tremmy is dying.

His illness strips everything from him­—­including the support of his teachers and friends who once nurtured his bright future. Worst of all, his best friend’s meteoric rise has come at the expense of Tremmy’s spectacular fall. Far from going out with the bang he’d hoped for, Tremmy faces betrayal.

But his illness has the power to expose the best as well as the worst of his school, his friends, and himself. Tremmy sets out to prove that the community he loves has to overcome its fear of death in order to truly begin to live. And Tremmy receives the momentous end he so fervently desires.

Trigger Warnings: Although Young Adult, this novel is recommended for ages 16+ due to profanity, mature themes, and sexuality. It contains subjects such as suicide, death, illness, medical assistance in dying, sexual assault, and racism. I approach these subjects with sensitivity and careful research, but they are part of the story.


Everyone’s going to die, peeps. And everyone deserves to die well.

I was thrilled to receive a request from Mr. Stewart to review this wonderful, thought-provoking book after reviewing his fabulous book, Heart Sister, last year. 

I guarantee you will laugh and cry when reading this very raw, very real, very emotional telling of a remarkable young man with cancer. The book may be fictional, but Tremmy’s slow decline and fight to die the way he wants to are tangible and unforgettable.

Tremendous “Tremmy” Sinclair is a privileged smartass rich kid who is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and given four to six months to live. With the choice of taking a round-the-world trip with his parents or returning to school after treatments that will not cure his cancer, Tremmy chooses school. He doesn’t want to die alone. He wants to die with his friends around him. But he has to convince the school, his parents, and his friends of that first. It’s not going to be easy because they want to kick him out. After all, everyone feels uncomfortable about death because that is the way our society has made it. Tremmy’s mission is to convince everyone to confront death and change the future. It’s not easy, but don’t underestimate Tremendous. “After all, you only live once.”

Yes, this story is filled with heartache and sadness, but it is so much more. It’s about friendship, prejudice, and the right to die well. Mr. Stewart so expertly brings out humor where you least expect it which counterbalances the overall doom that this story embodies. In addition, the story includes a look at Tremmy’s privileged life and how he has hurt others over the years. Something he experiences himself as he loses his privileges due to his cancer while his friends slowly disappear only to discover new quirky, disadvantaged friends. Friends who don’t care how much money you have, but who want to help you make changes at an institution that caters to the wealthy and advantaged.  Also, can I just say that I really, really want to see a drone wars event. It sounds extremely grueling and fascinating to me.  

From humorous and unfortunate incidents such as Pumpkin Night (who else but privileged kids would drink Cognac while stealing pumpkins) to painful moments when Tremmy slowly loses his battle while fighting to die where he wants to, this book gives you so much to think about when it comes to letting a minor die on their own terms. Should the choice of euthanasia be given to minors? Why not teach about death and dying in schools? 

At the end, I was so proud of who Tremmy had become. And may I say, he certainly knows how to make an exit.

I highly recommend this unnerving and important book. The characters are memorable and believable and the subject matter is so meaningful and essential to people of all ages.

Thank you to Mr. Stewart for giving me the opportunity to review this book with no expectation of a positive review.


The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair

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Michael-F-StewartMichael F. Stewart is an award-winning author of many books for young people in various genres, including Ray Vs. the Meaning of Life, which earned a Kirkus Star and won the Publishers Weekly’s Booklife Grand Prize. and Heart Sister (Summer/Fall 2020, Orca Books). Michael lives in Ottawa.

Follow Michael on his websiteGoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.