This book. This book, y’all. I have Never (and I really mean that) felt so much sympathy for a character. I have never so strongly cheered a character on or felt such a tremendous amount of hope as I read. And she was written by a boy. And Eric Lindstrom has his own special kind of magic. How is this only his second book? How does an author get that honed that quickly? I’m in awe.
The character is Mel Hannigan, a starkly real 16-year-old girl struggling with bipolar disorder. And she has a really good heart, but her disorder disorients her and sometimes she does stupid things. Mean things. Things she doesn’t mean. And it’s really hard to explain those things to the people you’re hurting when you won’t even tell them you’re sick. Watching Mel navigate friendships and a new relationship with a very sweet boy is like watching a beautiful train wreck. I really don’t know how else to describe it. Just like a train wreck couldn’t possibly be beautiful, neither should this story. But Mel is a fighter and she never gives up on herself. And that’s hard. Because it would be simpler to sink.
I can’t even express the joy and misery I felt reading this book. During the climactic chapter, my family thought there was something tragically wrong With Me, I cried so hard.
Truly a tragic kind of wonderful
You have to read this book. I am not just saying that. If you want, for yourself and for your littles, to be the kind of people who don’t judge but understand that while we are all different we are also all the same, read this book. If you want to discuss touchy subjects with your kids in an open-hearted, compassionate way, read this book.
The only thing I can compare it with is A Fault in Our Stars. It’s that kind of book. Strong, believable characters and a story that drags you through the mud and the flowers with tight pacing and grippnig language. A story that stays with you forever and ever, amen.
That kind of story.
Now that I’ve said all that, you’re probably going to be mad at me. Because you can’t read it until February 7. Stop throwing things! You can pre-order it on Amazon. That way when it arrives on your Kindle or doorstep in the dead of winter you can say, “Oh, yay! This is that life-changing book KT recommended to me back in October. Can’t wait to snuggle up with it and a mug of hot cocoa.”
You will say that, won’t you?