While a fairly typical YA book in terms of high school character stereotypes, I thought it was rather atypical in terms of how well the book was writtWhile a fairly typical YA book in terms of high school character stereotypes, I thought it was rather atypical in terms of how well the book was written. It's also rather rare to see this variety of perspectives without devolving into "Dear Diary ..." drama-soaked writing that many YA authors think younger readers need. The drama was more typical of high school, and the addition of some teacher perspectives I think brought the book up a level beyond normal YA high school drama.
Also, it was pretty reminiscent of a written version of "Skins" the TV series (British and American and which I happen to enjoy).
The themes were also well explored without the author feeling like she needed to over explain or scream her points....more
This book has been written before, many times over, and just didn't leave much of an impression. I immediately thought of the first part being a poorThis book has been written before, many times over, and just didn't leave much of an impression. I immediately thought of the first part being a poor replica of "Girl Interrupted" (complete with an almost copy of Daisy, a long time resident of the hospital who hides things under her bed and dresses primly feminine and old-timey, and Lisa (Jolie's character) is a dead ringer for Blue) -- not sure why the author felt such a need to copy this, as it was probably the most uninteresting segment of the book.
The second and third parts were far more interesting and original, even if they were a bit overly dark and drama-ful. Definitely an Ellen-Hopkins-esque novel, on the whole. I had to stop reading those books, since they take me into much too dark places, and this was similar, though I did manage to finish.
As I'm sure any reader can deduce from the cover, this book does not shy away from vivid imagery of self-harm, including descriptions of the act as well as the "recovery" period. So be warned.
That being said, I kind of wish there was a for-adults book with self-harm issues that didn't dramatize them so much. I know the acts result from storms of internal emotions, but I'm not sure there isn't a way to face this in a character without devolving into overtly life-shattering events like drug use, homelessness, rape, and the storm of drama usually found in these kinds of YA books. Sexual assault can be found in various adult literary novels without cheapening or glorifying it in such a way, so is self-harm so taboo that adults can't talk about it at a distance? I think that's what happens -- the author is so mired in the darkness that leads to self-harm that the only way to describe how awful things are to lead to it is to make the plot heavy heavy heavy. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this properly. Maybe if there were more former self-harmers writing about this issue from a healthy distance, it could be given more literary respect/seriousness without falling into YA drama tropes? I don't know, just things to think about.
Some quotes that stuck with me: "But the fucked-up part is once you start self-harming, you can never not be a creepy freak, because your whole body is now a scarred and charred battlefield and nobody likes that on a girl, nobody will love that, and so all of us, every one, is screwed, inside and out. Wash, rinse, fucking repeat."
"Cutting is a fence you build upon your own body to keep people out but then you cry to be touched. But the fence is barbed. What then?"
The author wrote at the end, and something she said felt very true to me: "Self-harm is not a grab for attention. It doesn’t mean you are suicidal. It means you are struggling to get out of a very dangerous mess in your mind and heart and this is your coping mechanism. It means that you occupy a small space in the very real and very large canyon of people who suffer from depression or mental illness."
Lovers of Ellen Hopkins will adore this book, that is for sure!...more
While not the worst thing I've read, definitely no where near the best or even the "good." Pretty fluffy for a book about someone who is raped then kiWhile not the worst thing I've read, definitely no where near the best or even the "good." Pretty fluffy for a book about someone who is raped then kills themselves, then goes on to act as other kids' subconscious. It's just absurd that suggesting chocolate and a hair straightener suddenly pulls a bullied girl back from the brink of suicide. Ugh. It makes light of something categorically not light, and makes it seem like solutions are so simple and obvious, which makes me worry about perceptions of depression, suicide, bullying, etc. Ultimately fast-reading fluff, so if that's what you're looking for then there you go,...more