Approximately 16 out of every 100,000 children contract a form of the disease in the US, of whom three will die of it. Each of these tragedies will spread a wider circle of pain, of course, but the fact is that child cancer is comparatively rare and affects relatively few young people. Teenagers see it, correctly, as a horror visited mostly on adults. It is not, therefore, a real and present danger in the way that bullying, sexual humiliation, peer-group rejection and parental severance are. So cancer is not a dangerous subject – it's a safe one. It allows teen authors to wax emotive without being threatening. It allows us to appear to be brave ("unflinching" is the usual term) taboo-busters while jerking tears for all we're worth.