I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering

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I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering by Janelle Hanchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 2018
Publisher: Hachette Books
Pacing: Normal
Recommended Age: 15/16+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parenting, Mental Illness, Addiction


BLURB:

At 21, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the reckless self-confidence of those who have no idea what they’re getting into. Having known her child’s father for only three months, she found herself rather suddenly getting to know a newborn, husband, and wholly transformed identity. She was in love, but she was bored, directionless, and seeking too much relief in too much wine. Over time, as she searched for home in suburbia and settled life, a precarious drinking habit turned into treacherous dependence, until life became car seats and splitting hangovers, cubicles and multi-day drug binges–and finally, an inconceivable separation from her children. For ten years, Hanchett grappled with the relentless progression of addiction, bouncing from rehabs to therapists to the occasional hippie cleansing ritual on her quest for sobriety, before finding it in a way she never expected. Continue reading

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay – Adib Khorram

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 2018
Publisher: Dial Books
Pacing: Fast
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Mental Illness, Persian Culture, LGBTQIA+, Friendship, Depression


BLURB:

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything. Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own. Continue reading

Rx – Rachel Lindsay

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Rx by Rachel Lindsay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Recommended Age: 15+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Mental Illness, Society, Drugs


BLURB:

In her early twenties in New York City, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Rachel Lindsay takes a job in advertising in order to secure healthcare coverage for her treatment. But work takes a strange turn when she is promoted onto the Pfizer account and suddenly finds herself on the other side of the curtain, developing ads for an antidepressant drug. She is the audience of the work she’s been pouring over and it highlights just how unhappy and trapped she feels, stuck in an endless cycle of treatment, insurance and medication. Overwhelmed by the stress of her professional life and the self-scrutiny it inspires, she begins to destabilize and while in the midst of a crushing job search, her mania takes hold. Her altered mindset yields a simple solution: to quit her job and pursue life as an artist, an identity she had abandoned in exchange for medical treatment. When her parents intervene, she finds herself hospitalized against her will, and stripped of the control she felt she had finally reclaimed. Over the course of her two weeks in the ward, she struggles in the midst of doctors, nurses, patients and endless rules to find a path out of the hospital and this cycle of treatment. One where she can live the life she wants, finding freedom and autonomy, without sacrificing her dreams in order to stay well. Continue reading

The Science of Breakable Things – Tae Keller

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Mental Illness, Friendship


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An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie’s uplifting story of using the scientific process to “save” her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers’ hearts! Continue reading

The Astonishing Color of After – Emily X.R. Pan

35604686The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Family History, Romance, Culture


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Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Continue reading

Words on Bathroom Walls – Julia Walton

25695640Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: July 4th, 2017
Publisher: Random House
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Illness, Contemporary, High School, Romance


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Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t. Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret. Continue reading

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

32969999A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: September 5th, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family History, Contemporary, Mental Illness, Romance


BLURB:

Esther thinks she has it all figured out, until she’s reunited with an old elementary school classmate—and first crush—Jonah Smallwood. The encounter leaves her stranded at a bus stop and swindled out of her phone, all her cash, a Fruit Roll-Up she’d been saving, and her list—not to mention her dignity. But the theft is also the beginning of an unexpected friendship between the two, one that sends the pair on a journey of self-discovery as they try to break the curse that’s consumed Esther’s family. Together they face their greatest fears, one debilitating phobia at a time, only to discover the one fear they hadn’t counted on: love. Continue reading