My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Contemporary, Mental Ilness, Friendship
In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.
As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?
In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.
That’s a really, really cool cover. Even though I didn’t love the book with all my heart, I still don’t think I could separate myself from it – gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous sparkly cover.
I was crazy excited about this story. Are you familiar with the meme for book blogs ‘‘Waiting on Wednesday’’? You feature a book you’re anticipating, once a week, on Wednesdays. I don’t do many of them, because of a lack of time, but I did do one for this book in particular.
It’s not amazing. It’s a good story, but not exactly original. While mental illness is, I believe, supposed to be the main theme, there’s a lot of theme overlap with friendship, family and even romance. Which shouldn’t be a bad thing, but when it becomes more about other things than Mel’s bipolar disorder, then it becomes a problem.
And even when the focus is on Mel and her up-and-down emotions, it doesn’t last very long – something else is always going to come and steal the spotlight, like the mystery around Nolan’s death, Mel and Zumi’s relationship (that adds a lot of eye-roll-worthy scenes in the plot) and the cute David. Plus I didn’t ‘‘feel’’ the emotional scenes, especially since the writing is not lyrical.
But it does read well. It IS a page-turner, despite the less original parts, such as the friendship drama and romance. And I did enjoy every scene related to Nolan, though I do find unfortunate the fact that we don’t get to know him extremely well. Also, I really wasn’t expecting that turn of events that unleashed Annie’s rage. It… was… great.
I’m happy to have learned more about bipolar disorders, though I do remember ‘‘All the Bright Places’’ being more thorough about the subject. By the way, those are two VERY different books, in terms of characterization, writing, atmosphere and even story.
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