Imagine being a young child, and finding out your younger brother has an illness that could change not only his, but your entire family’s lives forever.
Crystal Rivera didn’t just imagine it, she is living it. The 13-year-old Jefferson Township eighth grader has written a fiction book based her experiences, and part of the money she makes from the book will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
The book, entitled “Diary of a Life Less Sweet,” is a fictional diary written by the main character Jade Bluefeather, who has received the news that her sibling has been diagnosed with diabetes. Rivera’s younger brother, who is now eight, received that same diagnosis at the age of three.
“I really wrote this book to help other kids who were in the same situation as me,” Rivera said. “I remember having so many questions, and thinking, ‘am I the only one going through this?’” she said. “I know there are other kids who are in a stage where they can’t accept it. Those are the kids I want to help.
“It was very hard to get into the habit of how to take care of him,” Rivera said. “Things are back to normal now, but it was hard for a while.”
The book includes a listing of information for parents, caregivers and educators.
It took Rivera about 18 months to write the book, which will be officially released at a launch party at Sparta Books on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.
The book can be preordered now at www.amazon.com or be purchased at Barnes and Noble on or after Oct. 15. In addition, Rivera and her family will be selling books at diabetes walks, one on Oct. 20 at Liberty State Park and another on Oct. 21 at Rutgers University.
Rivera said there is another book in her future, continuing on the theme of helping a sibling.
“I want to continue the story of this book, but it will have a different feel to it, too,” she said. “Ever since I was little I’ve loved to write, and I can write stories for hours, so I’m looking forward to starting the next book.
She said she plans on having it ready in about another 18 months.