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I think that a turning point for Kyle (and for me as the reader) was when Kyle turned on the radio and heard the announcement of his own memorial service. He had thought before that people couldn't possibly still be searching for him but now that it was confirmed, he really had to decide if he wanted to live or die. Many teens are not faced with such a question at such a young age, but Kyle had had many experiences with death already. As he works to save himself, he thinks about kids at school that have died, his grandparents, and his brother Trace, who passed away from cancer. At various points, the experiences of these other people give him strength but also present various fears. Reading a first hand account of someone so close to death really makes readers take a second look at life and death and what is most important in life.
As his condition gradually grew worse and worse, Kyle continued to think about his mom, Lucille. It was fascinating to me to understand in part the relationship between mothers and sons. Kyle felt that his mother was very restricting and seemed to be constantly butting heads with her. But the longer he remained in his potential grave of ice, the closer he grew to his mother. He came to recognize her as his mother, not just as "Lucille." This drives home the importance of nurturing good relationships while we can. Who knows how much longer each one of us has on this earth?