A young adult novel about life, love, and living with mental illness
You might be tempted to skip over this book because it is classified as a “young adult” novel. Please take a moment to let me explain not only why I really love this book, but also why I think it is an important book to read. The world is overflowing with young adult coming of age novels that are filled with cliches, cheesy teen romances, and neat, happy endings – this isn’t one of those books.
Aza, the protagonist, struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. The author does a fantastic job of taking you on a journey to help you see and feel what it is like to live with a mental illness. It is a very personal and vulnerable book, as well as a good story. Consider this quote from a review of the book:
“In an age where troubling events happen almost weekly, this deeply empathetic novel about learning to live with demons and love one’s imperfect self is timely and important.”Publishers Weekly
Mental illness – the main character struggles with intrusive thoughts and compulsive actions. She knows the obsessions and compulsions are irrational, but has difficulty controlling them.
The self – who are you at your core? What makes you, you? These questions are asked again and again by different characters in different ways.
Grief – characters in the book deal with grief in different ways. Some are more socially acceptable and healthier than others.
I love this book. I can relate to it. If you know someone who struggles with mental illness, maybe this book will help you to have a better understanding of what it feels like to be in their shoes. Maybe you are the one who struggles and this book will help you to feel like you’re not alone in the world. The characters are rough around the edges, the relationships complicated, and the pain and grief are real. And I love it for that.
Learn more about the author and this book on his website. Here’s the Wiki link to this book.
Lastly, if you are struggling with mental illness and/or mental health issues, please know that help and hope are possible. Here are some resources:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: get help right now by calling 800-273-8255
National Alliance on Mental Illness: find support groups and helpful info
To Write Love On Her Arms: finding hope and help through story sharing