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Why You Should Buy It
This is a book that has the potential to change lives. While it deals with the mature topic of mental illness, it does so in a way that a teenage can get a real picture of what it is like to live day in and day out with someone who has bipolar disorder. It also has a girl trying to come to terms with who she is, all while trying to navigate high school.
*I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of NetGalley*
I read this book in about three and a half hours. I’m pretty sure I spent 3.25 of those hours in tears. This book is raw, devastatingly emotional, and beautiful. The writing is superb and story is well-paced and riveting.
From the first sentence, which also happens to be the title of the book, we find out that our protagonist leads anything but a normal life. Sixteen year old Sophie has been caring for her mother, alone, since the age of 11. But on the day this book begins (also the first week of her school year), she comes home to a bipolar mother who has overdosed. After her mother is stabilized, Sophie is forced to stay with her aunt’s family as her mother recovers.
Obviously this book is about many things, mental illness being the main focus. Sara Polsky was able to reach into my heart and make it break over and over again for Sara, her mother, and her family. Throughout the story we truly get to see the ramifications that mental illness has on an entire family, not just the person who is dealing with it.
My favorite part of the entire book is a part where the mother and her sister are talking and she says that she wishes she could be treated like a person and not an illness. When I read that, it just gave me chills. This author’s ability to bring out that kind of realness to a fiction book is incredible.
Having lived with depression and anxiety, and having other family and friends with mental illness, I think it is SO important to talk about. Mental illness has been taboo for so long, but talking about it and dealing with it out in the open takes away some of the power it can hold over a person.
Everyone knows someone, but so few people really understand. And if a teenage reads this book, it will really open their eyes and put them in the shoes of Sophie. I have not yet found a YA book that deals with it on such a real basis as this one does.
This book reminds me in a lot of ways to Nina LaCour’s Hold Still. While that book deals with suicide of a best friend, there are many parallels to be drawn. So, if you like this book, then you should definitely check that one out as well.
I cannot stress just how much I recommend this book. It will not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
Five out of Five Stars