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He's falling in love and she's falling over the edge of sanity. From the author of Beautiful and Clean, a heartwrenching exploration of a romance marred by mental illness.

Connor knows that Izzy will never fall in love with him the way he's fallen for her. But somehow he's been let into her crazy, exhilarating world and become her closest confidante. But the closer they get, the more Connor realizes that Izzy's highs are too high and her lows are too low. And the frenetic energy that makes her shine is starting to push her into a much darker place.

As Izzy's behavior gets increasingly erratic and self-destructive, Connor gets increasingly desperate to stop her from plummeting. He knows he can't save her from her pain...but what if no one else can?

384 pages, Hardcover

First published June 12, 2012

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About the author

Amy Reed

20 books1,017 followers
Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com.

BEAUTIFUL is her first novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 216 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,205 followers
May 29, 2012

Well, this one did a pretty good job of making me a wreck. Talk about an intense, completely realistic and painfully honest look at bipolar disorder. It hit way close to home on a number of levels.

Connor and Isabel met at camp, and they continued their close friendship via email after it ended. Connor and Isabel's relationship is loving and destructive. They're very close and very far apart, and each of their emails to one another gives both of these sides. They abuse each other and they apologize, but things start to change. They would after summer, of course, but they change dramatically. Isabel relies on disconnecting and Connor wants nothing more than to connect.

This was a book that made me love and hate both characters equally. They were so good and so bad for one another and so good and so bad for themselves, too.

Did I mention that at about page 300 I started to choke up, and then when I got to that scene I was a mess. Then I was a mess at the end because .

I should add, though, the first 50 to 100 pages of the book are quite funny. Isabel and Connor really play off one another's insecurities and it makes for funny, almost voyeuristic, reading. The email set up only enhances it. Execution here is smart and appealing.

The writing is tight and the voices are distinct and believable. I'm bummed I only have a digital copy of this one because there's an entire passage written by Connor about love I'd have marked that sort of encapsulates his entire story for me. It never felt inauthentic.

Reed is easily in my top-of-the-top list for contemporary yas, and she keeps getting better and better.

Full review here: http://www.stackedbooks.org/2012/05/c...
Profile Image for M.
648 reviews31 followers
August 9, 2012
This book did a number on me. So it's about Connor and it's about Izzy and it's about this THING between the two of them. It's about mutual destruction, budding love, caring, misunderstandings, understanding, mental illness, worry, and hope.

And when you read a book that is, essentially YourLife.txt, it becomes hard to objectively review it. There are a number of passages in this book that are put so perfectly, that hit so close, so hard, that I had to put the book in my freezer for a while.

Seeing yourself in the pages of a book, especially one about two teenagers, can be painful.

It's hard to find a YA book incorporating mental illness that doesn't demonize it. Crazy does not romanticize it, but it doesn't demonize it, either. If you're familiar with books about mental illness (specifically bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc), you know that most of what's out there paints each person who manages it in the worst lights manageable. While Izzy's condition blows up and people will likely have a hard time understanding why she does things, it's real. It's important to remember that it's just one of the ways that things can go, though. It's not as though you're seeing it from the outside, either. These are Izzy's thoughts, and sometimes you need something between you. That's where Connor comes in.

The interesting part, and what made this stand out so far is that there is a lot to fault Connor for in the book as well. He knows things are spiraling out of control, and he doesn't understand it. He tries to understand it -- which is amazing, bless this fictional boy -- but he doesn't establish boundaries, and while he's observational, and he misses what's really going on. His addiction to Izzy blinds him from seeing what could potentially hurt him, and hurt her. The fact that there are two not-so-innocent parties in the book manipulating one another is a breath of the freshest air.

There are some unfortunate stereotypes that are used in the book -- that Izzy is an artist is one. Oh, there's truth behind that stereotype, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing to see it when it's used. However, like with everything she does, Amy Reed handles the subject with strength. I'm starting to think there's no subject the author can't touch without turning it into gold.

I will hand Crazy to my friends, and to my loved ones -- and one day, to someone in specific, and have them read it. It's one that shouldn't be missed.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,854 reviews1,046 followers
June 12, 2012
Note: I received this as an ARC from S&S Galley Grab.

Initial reaction: Another book that kept me up to the wee hours of the morning to read through. It was worth every moment. I loved the story, even if there were parts of the story that I didn't care for. That may not make sense in my sleep deprived brain. I'll try to explain it more tomorrow.

Full Review:

"Crazy" is the first book I've ever read from Amy Reed, and what a story to start out with. For such a difficult subject matter, this book hits the nail on the head when it comes to portraying the story of someone struggling with bi-polar disorder, and the desperation of a boy determined to help the girl he cares about. One of the first elements that most may notice with this book is that it's written in a series of emails and chat sessions between Isabel (Izzy) and Connor, two friends who have their stark differences, but help each other along as they have various struggles to face. Connor's problem lies more in his stability with romantic relationships and prepping for the future, while Izzy seems to have problems along those lines on the surface.

However, Izzy's behavior starts taking a turn for the worse. At her best, she tends to be creative, spontaneous, and have a no-holds-barred attitude, but at her worse, her foulest moods attack the people she loves as well as herself - and she sets off in a panicked path of self-destruction. I understand that there are people who won't like Izzy for her off-filter comments (some of the things she said made my eyebrows lift as I read through), but I found it hard to not feel for the girl when she's at her worst moments. I could understand her conflict with her dysfunctional family in sorts. In the same vein, I also understood why she acted the way she did and hit a point where she lost all control and didn't know who to turn to. Connor is sympathetic, because you understand he's having his own ups and downs, but at the same time he's trying hard to balance his frustration and concern for Izzy.

The tension builds slowly at first and then accelerates into a whirlwind that doesn't come without pain, and it hit me rather hard. I won't spoil anyone to the events that occur, but I think Reed does an excellent job with balancing the tension, showing the lives of the two teens interacting through their distinct voices, and ultimately showing the impact of a young woman's condition and the road to helping her come to terms with it and get the help she needs.

Overall score: 4/5
Profile Image for Caitlin.
286 reviews12 followers
January 11, 2015
So despite the fact that some people are too immature and judgmental to see Amy Reed's talent at writing a story that very clearly and accurately depicts a young girl suffering from depression and bipolar disorder, I can say that I saw it and appreciate how good this book is. To read snippets of the reviews of this book is kinda brutal; some people seem to think that teenagers can't be depressed because it really just means they're spoiled brats who complain all the time and are self centered. Well let me tell you, those people clearly haven't suffered through what Reed's characters have and therefore cannot understand what it is like to be young and just plain sad about life. I didn't mean to go on a whole rant here but it infuriates me that people a) think the book is less good because it's written through e-mails, and b) think that Isabel is a terrible person. SHE'S FUCKING DEPRESSED, ASSHOLES. GIVE HER A GODDAMN BREAK. TEENAGERS ARE ALLOWED TO BE DEPRESSED AND SUICIDAL. *angry puffs of smoke coming out of ears and nose*

I know this book was fantastic, the writing was really good and Reed's depiction of Isabel is perfect. If you can't understand someone going through depression and mental illness, read some more books and maybe open your mind a little to the possibility that not every teenager is a whiny asshole.
Rant: over.
Profile Image for Diane Ferbrache.
1,673 reviews20 followers
September 26, 2012
Isabel (Izzy) and Connor met at summer camp where they were counselors. They struck up a friendship that continued when they returned to their homes -- Bainbridge Island (Connor) and Seattle's Capitol Hill. Although Puget Sound separates them e-mail keeps their relationship alive. Told in alternating messages, the reader learns of their growing relationship and of Izzy's descent into mental illness.

Within the first 12 pages, there's a lot of profanity and a very clear (although not graphic)and detailed description of Connor's girlfriend's aversion to oral sex and Izzy's detailed explanation of why she likes sex. I almost quit reading, thinking this was a highly inappropriate book for a high school library. I'm so happy I didn't. This is a wonderful, real story of friendship, love, family, growing up and dealing with mental health issues. As Izzy careens into the depths and Connor attempts to deal with it himself, my heart broke. highly recommended with a word of warning about the profanity and sexual content.
Profile Image for Mimi.Y.
321 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2015
Well to start off this book had me thinking....ok it's cool how they stay in touch after summer camp via email. Then as I keep reading the emails from Isabel made me say to myself maybe I'm just a little to old to be reading this book. My patience was running thin. I was thinking this chick is really getting on my nerves,her thoughts seem to be all over the place.i was getting to a point when I was like ok just run and jump out the window bc I'm getting tired of u. That was really mean of me but I'm glad the character Connor was trying to figure out a way to help her. When I finally finish the book I felt awful. I wish they would had said what was wrong with her in the beginning. Any way read at ur own risk.
Profile Image for Meredith.
239 reviews
June 2, 2019
Definitely not an easy book- it’s teen angst mixed with mental illness personified... I flew through it in a day. At times I loved the characters, at times I hated them... sometimes I hurt for them. I will say- the book is written in the format of emails between the 2 main characters so if that’s not your style, this isn’t for you. It did take me a bit of getting used to.
Profile Image for Melanie.
371 reviews21 followers
November 28, 2012
My god, what an amazing book. I loved Beautiful and Clean, and I think I like Crazy the best so far (although I'm the kind of person who's favourite book is whatever they just finished, so that isn't the most reliable opinion). I finished it within a day (mostly during class...whoops), because it was amazing and addicting and insane and beautiful. It was good at the beginning, but it didn't get exciting and crazy for me until the middle/end. You read it, and it's good, and I just had this impending sense that something would happen to Izzy. Not that I could have predicted what happened, though, even though I was sort-of expecting it, I was still shocked and devastated. The format of (mostly) emails worked well, and because they're such good friends, all those secrets and thoughts spilled out made sense.

What I really loved about this book was that it wasn't about the romance. You get the sense from the very beginning that they belong together, but it's barely hinted at, and definitely not one of those books where it's equally or more important than the main plot. It was so, so subtle and perfect that it came as an honest shock to me when she wrote her confession about loving him and wanting to kiss him. I knew they loved eachother, but I honestly didn't think too much about romantic love. There's a part of the book, where Connor tells her he loves her, and is in love with her as well, but the in love part isn't even important. And it's so, so true. That kind of unromantic love is portrayed gorgeously in this book.

The characters, of course, these amazing, amazing characters. Izzy was brilliant, and I loved her from the start. The progression of her bipolar disorder was amazingly written- just becoming erratic, undependable, wilder. The best part about it was that you don't go "Oh, she must have bipolar disease", you don't understand what is happening and you're just so, so wrapped up in her life and god, Izzy, and loving her, even when you come to understand there is something wrong with her mind, even when Connor's mother says that it's bipolar disease, I never really applied that label to her. Connor was, of course, an amazing character as well. I really, really, wish I had a friend like him, someone I could tell absolutely everything and laugh with and talk with and depend on all the time who loved me so much.

Amy Reed captures their voices beautifully- the way they think, the way they write, and conveys the mood so well with the run-on sentences, and never needs to depend on all caps to show you that they're angry and terrified and yelling inside. The use of the emails and dates was very well done, too- with the gaps between emails, she conveys so much about what is going on, how they feel. Near the end, when all of a sudden there's blank pages with splatters of paint?ashes?, I started going "No, no, no, no!" and then I realized there was still a good chunk of pages left so there must be more to the story, and suddenly a horrible thought occurred to me: what if all those remaining pages were all blank with the black splatters on it? As you can see, this book was a crazy roller coaster of emotions for me- when she leaves home and Connor is emailing her and stops pretending everything's normal and describes crying with her sister, I started crying too. From there on, there were multiple parts that had me full-out sobbing. I could not put this book down. It made me a mess, but I loved it, because it was amazing.
Profile Image for Magenta Niccals.
12 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2013
Where do I begin with my utter distaste for this book?!
Why did I attempt to read Amy Reed after my horrible experience with Beautiful? In all honesty, I blame my own stupidity for trying. Reed seems to believe that she understands the teenage struggle and the changes kids go through during these years...no. Strike that. Reed completely understands what it's like to be a teenager. She sees teens for exactly what they are: egotistical, confused, moralistic roller coasters, and good at making mountains out of molehills. Sadly, does not in any way create a good story or interesting characters.
In fact, I don't believe I've ever read a book with a character that I am (apparently) supposed to sympathize with, yet hated to much. Isabel (or Izzy, though no one ever really refers to her as that) is the perfect idea of a teen. She is annoying, self absorbed, and borderline psychopathic. I don't know what Reed's intent was while writing this book, but whatever it was, she made Izzy an unmistakable teen. Depressingly enough, this makes her unlikable, too.
Isabel complains nonstop about EVERYTHING! Nothing is good enough in her eyes and she has this need to being everyone around her as low as she is, yet I get the weird feeling that we're supposed think of Izzy as a strong, independent party. We're supposed to see her as a hero. I couldn't tell you if this is the fault of the horrible writing (I hate that it's told through Emails) or if it's just the plot in general, but something just doesn't work. Something isn't clicking. Especially in Conner's stupid head, obviously.
No, I feel bad for the kid. He clearly had strong feelings for Izzy, yet she did nothing but let him down. I barely know anything about Conner (who was thoroughly enjoyable as a character) because of Izzy's constant attempts at the spotlight. Okay, Conner has a dog, a gay friend, and a therapist mother...what else? Well, he's different. He doesn't have a lot of friends, but since when to teens ever think they're popular? Even if they are, they won't admit it. Especially not to someone like Izzy who enjoys bragging about how horrible her life is.
I know for a fact that I would've liked this story better if it wasn't told through Email. You wanna make a story that focuses on one character's mental issues? More power to ya. Just leave out the idea that Conner is supposed to be anything more than a pen pal. You could've done a lot with him, Amy Reed, yet you chose to make him nothing more than a voyeur. I pity with character with all my heart. I really do, but that doesn't mean he isn't uninteresting and useless.
Reed could've made an extremely exploitative book that had teens with the same mental issues flipping pages, yet a comedy of errors stopped this book from being good. Izzy may have been a fabulous character, if given to a better author. My advice on this book is to stay away. There's no real point in reading it. The ending is something I saw coming from a mile away and it doesn't give any new insights on being manic. DO NOT BOTHER YOURSELF WITH IT!
July 14, 2015
Crazy is a fast paced, beautiful, exhilarating ride.
I started bawling three quarters through- this story definitely touched me.
It felt painfully real, and I couldn't keep my eyes off the pages. I was stuck in the story, though it did take 50 pages to get into it- possibly due to the style of writing.
I read most of it in 5 hours- it's a very quick book- and I was hooked the whole time.
The characters, the way they wrote- it felt so realistic. They swore, they had outbursts, they got angry- because they're human. Amy Reed did an incredible job of making these characters alive. There were so many pages I folded the corners down on, because really, the writing was just PERFECT. After finishing it, I went back and reread so many bits just to feel that incredible rush I got reading it. It's hard for me to express the way this book made me feel, really. Reading Isobel's downfall was eerie- not about it, I was reading it, I was feeling what she felt, her helplessness, and also Connor's. It's so hard to read Isobel's denial of being unwell in some parts.

It was disturbing, and dark, but still so beautiful. Reading it was a painful experience at times. It got dark, hopeless and depressing, and bits where Isobel was a bit too cheerful were equally as hard to read as her angry, or hopeless ones. Like the ones she sent when Connor and his friend Jeremy were on a college trip- she reached a horrible low then, but it was just as hard when she was too high.
And Connor was there, loving her, trying to help but being constantly pushed away by Isobel.
This book isn't perfect, exactly, but that's what makes it perfect to me. Isobel and Connor mess up, hurt each other and themselves, and again, that's why this book is so real to me.
The thing is, I felt along with Connor and Isobel- pain, rejection, excitement, hopelessness...I felt it all with them, and I am so glad I did read this book. Possibly the best example of bipolar disorder in teens given in YA fiction.
Now, the ending. I loved the ending, as it ended nice and abruptly- usually I hate that sort of ending in a book, but it worked perfectly for Crazy.
I pondered a film for Crazy, and then realised that the emotion just couldn't be explored like it was in the book. It can only be experienced by written word. And that is precisely why I rate this book 5 stars and name it possibly my favourite book I have read this year.
Profile Image for Crystal.
545 reviews35 followers
June 19, 2012
When this book started I didn't know what I was going to think about it. The language is a little rough. The characters a little rough around the edges. But then I began to get to know Connor and Izzy and connect to them. Connor has his loving life with his caring mother, but he's in love with Izzy who's not in love with him. Izzy in her life where it seems no one loves her at least by the way she tells it. They are different and yet they are the same, they are two teenagers trying to feel their way through life through mistakes and leaning on each other. Connor needs Izzy and Izzy needs Connor even when they think they don't. It's not the healthiest relationship, but it's there for both of them and it's interesting to watch.

This book is not for the younger aged young adults. As I mentioned, the language can get rough, but it's there with a purpose. These are not perfect teenagers living perfect lives. The book serves as a book that teens everywhere can relate to. Not everyone has a perfect life and some, like Izzy, do need help and they need friends like Connor to see that when others closer to them do not.

Crazy is amazing, I could not put it down. I am a big fan of books in the format of emails and messages. I find them an interesting way to read a book. So I loved this. I love the way that Connor and Izzy talk back and forth to each other. Their honesty and dishonesty, and just they way they share with each other. There is so much to this book and yet I don't want to give anything away. It is a must-read, but carve out some time, because once you get into this one you won't want to put it down. I was enthralled by the book. It's kind of like a train wreck, you just can't look away. And I mean that in a good way, the writing is excellent, it's the story that is the train wreck, because it's a tough one, but I like the tough ones. I like the light ones too, but I enjoyed Crazy. It's real, it's honest and it's a book that should be read by adults and teens alike.
Profile Image for Cassie.
363 reviews
October 14, 2019
I have never cried so hard from a book before. Ever.
This book was fantastic, It is difficult to find words to properly explain my feelings after reading this book.
The emotion is so raw and realistic, you don't have to be dealing with BPD to relate to some of Isabel's feelings and thoughts. I loved this book for so many reasons, the story and the writing was stunning. A big part of this story that I loved so much was the mental illness incorporation, because the mental illness was not romanticized, (a common issue in YA novels and media) but rather taken seriously. This book is perfect, and I think an important read, showing people with mental disorders that they are not alone while providing hope, and enlightening people with no knowledge on the topic to be more sensitive and knowledgeable.
By the way, this book is QUICK. I read it in a little over two hours in two sittings in the morning, sucked in by the story. It is written in emails and instant messaging, which works REALLY well in the story. Also, the cover is ugly in my opinion. I wish the whole -people on the cover- thing would stop.
Profile Image for Disability in Kidlit.
155 reviews353 followers
July 17, 2017
"If the reader is unfamiliar with bipolar disorder or depression, it is tempting to attribute Izzy’s early mood swings as being products of her environment. As someone whose bipolar disorder also onset in my teenage years, I can appreciate that this nuance may have been Reed’s intention. Bipolar disorders and depression often go undiagnosed in children and teenagers until something—or a string of somethings—severe."

Read contributor L.D. Lewis' full review at Disability in Kidlit.
Profile Image for Marlene.
124 reviews24 followers
June 23, 2015
I wish I had a Conner in my life to save me :/
Profile Image for Danya.
376 reviews56 followers
October 19, 2012
Axis 1. Characters

I didn't particularly like either Connor or Isabel, especially for the first half. Isabel was very annoying in some ways — she's quite self-centered and melodramatic. I suspect that these are aspects of her personality regardless, but that her bipolar disorder intensifies them. She's also creative, and there appears to be some connection between creativity and manic episodes. I thought the difference between "normal" creativity and manic-inspired creativity was actually illustrated quite well here in comparing Connor and Isabel. Connor can be poetic and a bit dramatic when he wants to be, but he doesn't succumb to it the way Isabel does. She throws herself into these fantasies and her imagination just goes wild with it. Still, it's tough to know how much of Isabel's character is just pure Isabel and how much is an effect of the bipolar, especially as she is struggling with the disorder for so much of the book.

Ultimately, Isabel is both self-destructive and destructive of her relationships with others. This is probably mostly due to her disorder, but she actually says at one point that she can blame it on the bipolar, but it's partly herself as well. Indeed, there's at least one cognitive hurdle Isabel needs to get over — that of feeling not good enough for everyone's love and attention, and thinking that she needs to be punished. We don't really see how this attitude has developed, although we're given some indicators in her home life. Her family has ignored her and focused instead on her drug-using brother, and so Isabel has looked for attention in the wrong places (like with Trevor).

I was surprised Connor puts up with Isabel's behaviour for so long, that he keeps trying to help her and be her friend. I didn't really see what he sees in Isabel; maybe back in camp when they first met she acted differently because the bipolar disorder hadn't been triggered yet? Obviously he's not perfect, though, and he does get mad at her quite a bit — not that I blame him, because she says some really out-of-line stuff. It's like she feels she has the right to take things out on anybody.

Also, I didn't find Connor that authentic as a teen guy. He's unusually thoughtful and sensitive (which is pointed out a few times), and while I got used to his voice I never ended up liking him much.

Axis 2. Premise/plot

I wasn't that into it for the first half, but then later as Isabel's bipolar started to worsen, things got more emotionally intense and I became more interested. Crazy is a fantastic portrayal of someone's downward spiral into serious bipolar disorder. Isabel begins oscillating, first just a little, and then more and more as her highs and lows start getting really high and really low.

After the climactic scene there's a fair bit of denouement where not that much actually happens, but it was neat that the author offers a glimpse of the beginning of recovery for her, and we see her start to gain a perspective of "normality".

Axis 3. Writing Style

The writing was quite good, especially once things got going. Isabel's sections come off as overly dramatic, yes, but that's because Isabel is overly dramatic, so the writing is merely reflecting her personality/mood. In fact, this quality of the writing is particularly well-illustrated in one of her e-mails, which is just one long run-on sentence, like there are all these words bubbling over that she has to get out. This "stream-of-consciousness" kind of style works well to portray what's going through her head, and also functions as a written version of the pressure of speech symptom some individuals with bipolar experience.

Axis 4. Psychological Accuracy

Crazy does an exceptional job of showing what a person with bipolar disorder is going through mentally and emotionally. In fact, I don't think I've read a better portrayal of the perspective of someone who has bipolar disorder.

Mania is often associated (by the general public) with being really happy, but with Isabel, this isn't often the case. She's happy for very brief moments at the beginning of a manic episode, but this quickly turns to anger/bitterness — but still with all the energy a manic episode brings. Then this progresses downhill into depression. It's good to see the portrayal in Crazy doesn't fall prey to stereotype, as I suspect what happens with Isabel is a much more likely scenario for many individuals with bipolar, rather than a black-and-white, "happy" or "unhappy" sort of divide. It's better to think of bipolar as alternating between energy levels. Also, it's possible that Isabel sometimes experiences a mixed state — either mania with some depressive symptoms, or depression with some manic symptoms.

While I wish we'd seen a little more of Isabel's manic episodes, bipolar disorder cannot be neatly separated 50-50 into depression and mania; the frequency of each type of episode depends on the individual. During her manic episodes, though, she definitely "acts out" in ways one might expect (). She's also obsessed with sex at some points, and hypersexuality can occur with manic episodes. And we see elements of psychosis in Isabel at times — she hears voices and holds what could be interpreted as a delusion about her "evil twin". Psychosis certainly can be present in some individuals with bipolar, particularly in a manic episode. Overall, I'd diagnose Isabel with Bipolar I disorder, rapid cycling (since the book doesn't take place over a very long period of time, and by the end she's already shown a few episodes of both mania and depression).

I thought it was very realistic that Isabel resists treatment for such a long, long time. She really digs her heels in, turning against everyone who tries to help her, thinking they're the enemy. Indeed, she almost starts acting a little paranoid schizophrenic (perhaps part of this is her psychotic symptoms?). We're not told exactly why she doesn't want to get help, though — whether it's the stigma of having a mental disorder, that she's in denial, that she's naturally stubborn, that it's an effect of the bipolar disorder itself, that she's worried she'll lose part of herself, or a combination of these factors.

As for Connor, he didn't strike me as being really codependent — a term brought up briefly in Crazy — but he certainly lets her take center stage in the relationship. It's all about her, and he doesn't put his foot down very much in terms of making her pay attention to him. It's a one-way relationship — he's trying to save her and she's not giving him anything in return, which she acknowledges at one point.

Validity Score:

How psychologically accurate was Crazy?

Patient shares symptoms with: A Note of Madness by Tabitha Suzuma, The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

Patient's statement:

"I am a parasite on this world. I suck the life out of the things I love. I multiply and spread until I've consumed you. And even when you're gone, even after I've licked up every last crumb of you, I'm still hungry. I'm starving, Connor. I'm empty and lonely and lost and I'm starving, and there isn't enough in the whole wide world that could make me feel whole."

Diagnosis: 4 shooting stars.

For more information about bipolar disorder, see here.

Note: this book contains some coarse language and mature content.

This book counts toward my goal for the Just Contemporary reading challenge.
Profile Image for Aly Peeler.
56 reviews2 followers
July 16, 2018
Amy Reed should be embarrassed that the only book she cited as referencing about bipolar disorder was a book about people having to “live with” their bipolar loved ones. It was tiring to read how focused everyone in the book was on how “selfish” Isabel was being (by struggling with an illness?) and how she came to the conclusion that all people who struggle with suicidal ideation will be fine if it just occurs to them that they should ask for help. Descriptions of mental illness in the book were incredibly otherizing. Isabel’s disorder was treated as something she should repent for and hide as much as possible, and even then, she valued herself over the “real crazies” who filled the rest of the psych ward, casting other mentally ill people as dangerous, irrational, or drooling zombies with no other facets of their personality.

I hate that a teenage boy, who had no knowledge of mental illness and did very little to help Isabel, was cited by everyone with “saving” her by being in love with her. The romance was not only bad and filled with plot holes but also disappointingly misogynistic- women deserve more than settling for unkind men who sometimes tell them they have worth as a person. There was also some weird racist/white savior bullshit thrown in in the middle- not sure about why Reed thought focusing on how sad it was for a Latin American man to commit suicide because he could never go to art school would contribute to the story. Mentally ill folks turn to stories like these for something to relate to and find hope in, and yet time after time again I find mentally ill folks (in stories about! mentally ill folks!) misrepresented, degraded, and treated as a burden. We deserve better.
Profile Image for Heather.
482 reviews44 followers
June 18, 2012
Okay, so if you're at all familiar with my blog, you'll know this book must have been hand picked for me!
Bipolar disease runs in my family with three out of the four of us having it in my immediate family. I could relate to Izzy so well, Amy Reed could have interviewed me. I was always "too sensitive" or "everyone else feels that way too." When you've never known normal, how do you know you're sick?

My first impression of this book was that it was a great snapshot into showing the highs and lows of an undiagnosed or unmedicated case of Bipolar Disease. Yes, it's a disease the same as heart disease or diabetes, and it affects the biggest organ of all in our bodies. That's why it shouldn't be talked about secretly or shamefully. It should be out there and everyone should be talking about the diseases that affect this major organ. The one that controls everything and the one that, when it is affected by a disease, does the most damage.

There can be no doubt about it as you read Crazy that Izzy is definitely different. She's supposed to be brilliant (according to what Connor says) and a fantastic artist (again according to what Connor says). The story is told through a series of emails back and forth between Connor and Iz or Izzy depending on how she wants to sign it. Sometimes she punishes him for days not writing back so that he backs off from whatever he was trying to assert and apologizes. This is the manipulation that comes with Bipolar Disease. There are lots of little tricks that can make you hate someone with Bipolar Disorder, but they are also the same ones that can make you love them. As you read the emails, you sense Izzy's depression and utter loneliness. She expresses herself very well. But there got to a point where I wasn't sure if someone in her state could so beautifully express herself. Sometimes the writing, which was extremely lyrical and almost over my head at times, seemed too intelligent for two high school seniors to be writing.

I get that Izzy had Bipolar Disorder and sometimes people with more creativity are supposedly among those that have the disease. So she should have been able to express herself in unique ways, but even when she was manic, her thoughts were clear enough but almost too intelligent. It felt like two poet laureates were expressing themselves instead of two high school students with above average intelligence.

But Izzy's behaviors were right in line with textbook Bipolar Disorder. She hit rock bottom and then bam hit a high and couldn't sleep for days for all the ideas in her head, ideas she never finished and that weren't a good idea. She was promiscuous and participated in dangerous behaviors and then she came crashing down to the inevitable low. And Connor, Connor from summer camp who helped this beautiful girl that he fell in love with and didn't know was going to take him on this roller coaster ride, is with her every step of the way as she pours out how she's feeling, what she's done, what she regrets and everything in between. Ironically, Connor's mother is a therapist, but he wont' betray Izzy by talking to her about what Izzy is going through unless Izzy says it's okay and she does not say it's okay.

I'm glad Amy Reed showed what it's like to be inside the mind of someone who goes through this scary ride and doesn't understand what's going on. It's a desperate, lonely, terrifying journey especially if no one is there to care or get you help. I hope that teens will read this and if they see themselves in it, will get help. I wish there had been resources listed in the back for teens to go for help. Mental illness is still looked upon shamefully and is a disease that doesn't get enough discussion. I did read the ARC so maybe there are resources listed in the finished book.

Reed gets it right for showing Izzy as a victim of her illness, not some delinquent juvenile that can't control herself. Because the truth is, Bipolar Disease is a chemical imbalance in the brain. That's the simple way to put it and Izzy says it herself. But she's also deflated by the fact that the first medication may not work and it may take 4-6 weeks to know if it is working and if it isn't working there's no guarantee that the next medication will work. It's just a guessing game until you hit the right combination. That's the complicated part. And the medication can make you feel like a zombie until you get used to it, or for a long time after.

This is a great book for teens and anyone that enjoys Contemporary YA. There is some language and sex mentioned in graphic terms so use your judgement. It's part of the journey Izzy goes through. I think parents might learn a lot too if their teen suffers from Bipolar Disease/Disorder.
Profile Image for Carmie Thomas.
82 reviews
August 2, 2013
When I sat down to read this book, I was very nervous. Well, not really at first. At first, I saw the cover and thought that it would be pretty good. But then I saw the format of this book.
The format of this book is composed of instant messages, letters, emails, and much more! I get pretty nervous around these books. You ask why? They are so hard to keep up with! It's like one second we're a boy, then we're a girl, then we're a cat posing as a human! Okay, maybe the cat thing was a little overdramatic! But it gets kind of tricky. I've read many novels like this likettfn, ttyl, and ChaseR: A Novel in E-mails. They all are very diverse.
Anyway, enough with all that babble. Normally, when I read a book, unless I REALLY love it or REALLY hate it, I don't take all the time to write a review. Normally I just throw a star count on that badboy and move on with my life! And I believe this will be the biggest review I've done since I got on here. So I'm excited! Back to what I do, if I also feel very strong about a book, then I look through the reviews of others and see what they liked or hated about the book.
Meet the two main characters of this book, Connor and Izzy.
Izzy is the type of girl, most of us love to hate. On a good day, I'm pretty sure she's a good girl to befriend. The bad part of that expression is she didn't have many good days! She was a Debbie Downer so to say! Oh my gosh she was depressing! One second she was buddy buddy with Connor and they were laughing a joking about things that happened in their everyday lives and the next she hated the world! I know we all know at least ONE person like that! The one who always is 'depressed' and 'mad' but really they just want attention? The one where you can hardly spend 5 minutes without them complaining about their life? The one whose mood seems to rub off on you? They feel sad and so they feel they MUST make you feel miserable too? Yeah, that's Izzy for ya! Hey, this isn't Les Mis Izzy, you can shutup now!
les mis photo: Les Mis les-mis.jpg
And I'm not sure about you, dear reader of my review, but I would have dropped her like a hot potato!
sweet brown photo: meme Sweet-Brown.jpg
Connor is that nice, hometown guy who sticks through it all. The late night phone calls, the nasty booger infested tissues thrown his way, the complaining, and what ever else Izzy desides to throw his way. He was screamed at and much much more! Poor guy! He deserves a freakin' medal! I would have said some choice words to Izzy! And she, like a bimbo, didn't realize how much he likes her! Does this story ring a bell for some of you girls and guys out there in Connor's situation? I realized about halfway through this story that when Izzy asked for help and he tried to give it, she got mad! What the heck?! that's like telling someone to get you a meal and then throwing it on the ground and screaming at them because it's ruined! And again I ask 'What the heck?!' to myself. Seems like, after the thousandth time, Connor would say 'Man, this chick is annoying, hey Izzy? Get over yourself!' but I guess not!
And after saying all that, somehow that aspect of the characters pulled me in more!
All in all, I can't wait to read more from Reed!
Profile Image for Miranda.
512 reviews117 followers
December 6, 2012
There is no way I’m going to manage to be rational about this book. There isn’t. Like Izzy, I have (undiagnosed) bipolar disorder or, at the very least, cyclothymia. I’ve probably always had it, but it hasn’t been until the last few years where it’s become truly noticeable and an actual problem. Like Izzy, I go through spells where I’m so manic that I have trouble sleeping and can go for hours focusing on one specific thing. Then I crash into a depressive episode where I have trouble even getting out of bed. These episodes can last from one week to several, and it’s always a cycle.

It’s hard. It’s harder on my friends and family to deal with it. And normally, I’d be wary of a book that has an MC with the disorder. It’s too personal to me, and if it had been portrayed badly, I would have been highly upset. As much as I enjoyed Amy Reed’s other two books, I went into this one with a bit of trepidation. (I realize I’m perhaps being a little unfair about this, but I can’t help how I feel.)

I needn’t have worried. Despite a rocky start, Crazy soon hit me squarely in the feelings and the depiction of the mental illness and the people it affects is stunningly realistic and respectful.

Several times I had to put this book down because I was tearing up too much to read it properly. What Izzy goes through was just so familiar to me, and the questions it makes her ask herself are things I’ve asked myself a lot.

The thing about bipolar is, it affects your entire being. It’s not just occasional periods of mania or depression. It’s with you all the time in less obvious ways; it makes you moody and oversensitive. You could be having a great day, but one little thing can ruin your entire mood for the rest of it. It’s something that makes you wonder if you really are just this awful a person, if it’s not the disorder making you act like this but just you, yourself. It can change your entire personality and who you are. It’s awful, to put it very lightly.

But other than the great portrayal of bipolar disorder, the other aspects of the book are good too. Both main characters, Connor and Izzy, are wonderfully realistic. Sometimes they can be a little irritating and do some things that aren’t entirely likeable, but that’s what makes them human. Of the two, I was of course a little more attached to Izzy and her struggles, but Connor was a good character too. They’re both just trying to figure themselves and their lives out.

I wasn’t entirely on board with the love story. Connor and Izzy do love each other, it’s obvious, but they tend to toe the line on being too co-dependent on each other. I did appreciate their love for each other, but I hope they can move past being quite so unhealthy.

I will say, though, one sour note for me was Izzy’s instances of slut shaming other women in her e-mails. She calls herself a feminist, then turns around and derides women for acting in ways she considers slutty or demeaning. Hate the war, not the victims. You can’t call yourself a feminist and then turn around and actively insult women for acting a certain way, even if it’s not one you yourself agree with. Also, the last thirty pages weren’t as good as the rest of the book, but it doesn’t detract from the story overall.

Amy Reed once again proves herself to be a great writer, and one of my favourites. I’ll gladly read anything she puts out. Crazy is going to become one of those books that means a lot to me and one I’ll revisit again.
Profile Image for Sophia..
48 reviews2,513 followers
August 23, 2012
Meeeeeeeh. It was so disappointing.
First off, I didn't know the whole book was written in e-mails and it really bothered me, as soon as I started reading. It felt weird and artificial and kinda childish. And unfortunately, the characters didn't help.
The major problem I had with this book was characterization. John Green, anyone? The guy, Connor, is soft, innocent, funny, nice, calm, responsible (and he even has a loser sidekick!) Btw, Connor's compared to Michael Cera in the book, and that's totally how I visualize all the narrators in John Green novels.
Then, the girl. I had a big problem with Isabel. I didn't like her, at all. I have to say that the bipolar disorder was extremely well executed. It was all very convincing, but it didn't make me like her. Even though I knew she was sick and it wasn't her fault, everything about her bothered me. Especially the way Connor sees her.
Even at the very beginning, Connor has this kind of adoration for her that just isn't justified. He sees her like some sort of mysterious, sexy, deep, fascinating goddess and I had a very hard tim agreeing with him. Most of the time I wanted him to stop answering to her stupid e-mails.
The discussions between the two of them were endless and.. too emo. I skipped through several paragraphs that were way too long and way too dramatic.

Another issue. I had a problem with Isabel's emails, because they sometimes felt like the author was using her voice to preach her own beliefs.
Like the whole homosexuality thing? Her sister's homosexual couple was always mentionned in the conversations, and what for? To remind the reader that she's gay and that she's having a baby?
And then there's this whole speech about homosexuality being a burden to certain people especially with the awful laws and stuff and yeah yeah, it's true, but right now in the book, who cares? I'm pretty sure that if Gennifer had been with a guy, the couple wouldn't have been talked about that much.
Besides, in the end, the girlfriend Karen didn't even have a purpose, so what was the point?

And Connor and Jeremy? That was totally unbelivable.
And the ending! Am I supposed to believe that

Whatever. The whole book was Meh and disappointing, which is a shame. "Clean" is one of my all time favorite book and I expected so much more from Amy Reed. This was, in my opinion, too drafty, too cliché, and too superficial. 2 stars.
Profile Image for Joli.
415 reviews138 followers
December 11, 2014

Amy Reed's third novel Crazy is by far my favorite of her books. Connor and Izzy meet during the summer while working at a kid’s camp and when they return to their homes not far from each other, but separated from a body of water, they decide to keep in touch. Through a series of emails, IM's and a few journal entries (because Izzy WILL NOT talk on the telephone), we see how their friendship continues to grow. It is clear from almost the very beginning that Connor loves Izzy even when he asks her about how to handle his current hook-ups/non-relationships.

Their email exchanges are often self-absorbed and they don’t always pay attention to what the other is trying to tell them. Intentions are misinterpreted. And yet there is a level of honesty in these exchanges. Connor and Izzy share some real insight into who they are. Izzy’s manic moments took me to a place where everything made sense and nothing at all made sense, but it allowed me to understand who she was and her struggles. Connor couldn’t always see it. He was blinded by his adoration of her and thought it was part of her charm, her eccentricness. He soon began to realize that there could me more in what she telling him in her emails and knew that it was more than he could handle.

It was very easy for me to like Connor’s character, but what I think solidified it for me was his relationship with his mother. Even though we only get to see her through his eyes, we get to know a lot about them. He is raised by his single mother and when his father left them, Connor assumed the role of care-giver to his mom. While they can have an open dialogue, Connor definitely is not a mama's boy. But the openness that they have allows Connor to realize that some problems are too big for him, or any teenager, to handle on their own.

Reading Crazy was an emotional experience for me. Very quickly, I cared about Connor and Izzy. I wondered if their friendship could survive beyond summer camp or would Izzy become so destructive that it would end their friendship beyond repair. I know that I’ve focused so much on their relationship here, but I want to say that this book is so much more than that. It is a deeper look into the life of a girl with an undiagnosed mental illness and her struggles with her family, her boyfriend, and her personal thoughts when something means everything and nothing all at the same time. I was brought to tears many times and at one point had to put to the book down to get it together and quit crying. It hit me on a personal level too opening my eyes to the mania someone experiences with bipolar disorder and how it affects the lives of those who love them.

This is a book that I will share with my friends and I’ve already bought a copy for my personal library to read again and again.

I would recommend to anyone who likes this book, or wants to read more stories involving mental illness, to read Life is But a Dream by Brian James.
Profile Image for Hannah.
499 reviews
April 14, 2012
Crazy is written almost entirely in emails and IM messages, which I didn't know before starting this book. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's an original idea, and it gives us a unique insight into Connor and Izzy's relationship. I was worried this format would mean we wouldn't get to know the characters enough in how they really think, since we don't know whether they're being honest or whether they're telling the other person everything. But that part works pretty well - Connor and Izzy are very honest with each other and let the other one what they're thinking. I do think we got to know the characters well, considering the format, which means the author must have done something right.

But... I'm still not sure whether I like the format. Parts of it felt a little contrived to me - the reasons for writing as much in their emails weren't always clear to me. A lot of the book feels too much like normal narrative - writing an email, I'd assume you wouldn't be as descriptive as you'd be writing a novel, and I found how much these emails sounded like normal narrative to be a little unrealistic. The fact that towards the end, there is normal narrative and a few other formats in between the emails also felt contrived to me.

Then there are the characters. Like I said, we do get to know them pretty well, despite the format. Each of them has a distinct and realistic voice. But I still didn't love them. Connor is a pretty average character - he's a nice guy, but not all that special. His wimpy-ness got on my nerves a few times, but I didn't mind him too much. Izzy is very different and unique. I didn't particularly like her, but I don't think you're supposed to. The mental illness aspect is done very well. Izzy's descent into madness is realistic, and at times, downright scary.

Maybe it's because of the format, but I still felt somewhat removed from the story, even though it was interesting to see how her disorder changed Izzy. Honestly, I had a hard time seeing the point of this story. I feel bad for saying that, since I'm definitely not someone who says every book needs to teach us something, or anything like that - a book is just supposed to tell a story. But for me, I didn't really see a point to the story; it didn't touch me in the way I'd hoped it would. I felt like an outsider - I wasn't living inside the story like you do when you're really feeling a book.

Technically, most of this book is very well done. It's a realistic portrayal of bipolar disorder with two interesting characters. But emotionally, personally, Crazy didn't do much for me, and I didn't end up loving this book like I'd hoped I would. Still, if you're looking for an interesting story with a unique style, you should give Crazy a try.

Reviewed at http://www.paperbacktreasures.blogspo...
Profile Image for Rachel.
173 reviews18 followers
February 25, 2020
Check out my other book reviews on my blog if you like this one: http://meridianreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

I'm disappointed to say this is the first book since I've started my blog that I have been unable to finish, but I'm done trying to force myself to read this. So this book is unrated, and will remain so indefinitely.

Crazy by Amy Reed promises an insight into manic depression from the point of view of a teenage boy in love with a girl who exhibits the symptoms. It could have been a very engaging book, highlighting the stress and strain such a diagnosis can put on a friendship, a budding relationship, on two young people still trying to figure out who they are. It could have been so much more than it was, is what I'm trying to convey. Because this book was actually a massive let-down.

Connor and Izzy were actually incredibly dull characters, both as whiny and self-involved as each other. I get that with Izzy her inability to empathise with anyone else's problems is linked to manic depression, but Connor has no excuse. He's just a dick, who just wants to sleep with someone. I really didn't like him at all, and even though I understood Izzy I just couldn't bring myself to care about her either. It felt like Reed didn't remember what it was like to be a teenager, so instead wrote her characters the way out-of-touch adults think teenagers act. It kind of really pissed me off. I can't even tell you the names of any other characters in the book.

The style of the book was also such a mistake. I had no idea this book was going to be told purely through emails, but it was something I quickly discovered and was immediately annoyed about. The subject of the story is such an intense, emotional thing, and balancing those issues with such an impersonal narration was a very risky move. It could have paid off, but it was a disaster for this book. The issues I wanted to see get dealt with, get brought up, were just lost in teenage melodrama instead. I kept trying to finish, just to say I'd finished it, but I couldn't keep going. Nothing gripped me about this story by the time I gave up, which must have been halfway through.

If this book got more interesting after that point, I am sorry but that's just a bit too late for me. I wanted a truly engaging and insightful book into manic depression, and that's not this book. Perhaps I shouldn't have been expecting something good, but I do like to think YA fiction does actually matter and so it does disappoint me when this is the sort of stuff that gets published in the genre. It also puts me off reading any more of Reed's books, cause I know there was at least one other I planned to read. So maybe not anymore.
Profile Image for Tina.
786 reviews
November 21, 2015
I very rarely give out 5 stars, but this book Oh my GOD, this book. I don't even know if I can articulate my feelings properly, but I'm going to try.

So this is a hauntingly accurate portrayal of bipolar disorder and how quickly you surrender to it, how frighteningly FAST it consumes you, strangles you, changes you into a person no longer recognizable by those around you. The truth is that mental illnesses are NOT beautiful. They are not to be worn like a mask, they are not to be romanticized, they are not fluffy and light and something you can just snap out of. Amy Reed definitely did her research when writing this, because she gets it. She gets right into the mind of Isabel, who is struggling with something that she can't put a name to, but something that she knows is wrong. By her side is Connor, who has no clue what is going on either at first, but as the monster swallows up more and more of Isabel, finally sees that something is wrong. Instead of running, or cutting Isabel off (which is what most people would expect him to do), he sticks around.

This book squeezed my heart and didn't let up on its iron grip until I finished reading. It is the kind of book that demands to be read. I only put it down to sleep because it was absolutely necessary that I did so. But I didn't want to. I couldn't stop reading because I recognized what Isabel was going through. Without getting too personal, I am Isabel, and reading this was like seeing what all of my loved ones see on my worst days. It was like seeing everything that they have seen, through their eyes. But I was also seeing it through new eyes. I've been where she is, and for that reason alone, I could not stop reading. I had to finish.

The writing style was easy and pleasant, but that doesn't mean this was an easy read by any means. It wasn't. It was exhausting and draining, and I shed tears more than a few times. I could not believe how accurate this was. Most of the books I've read pertaining to mental illnesses either brush it away or romanticize it. At the worst, they refuse to acknowledge the ugly parts. This book showed the good AND the bad. It didn't pretend like bipolar disorder is something you can just write a prescription for and everything will be okay. And as I said, I could relate so much to Isabel.

If you suffer from a mental illness, read this book. If you know someone who is struggling with a mental illness, read this book. Even if mental illness doesn't affect you at all, read this book. I can't stress that enough. It is amazing and incredible and something that you don't want to miss.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,260 reviews216 followers
April 30, 2016
Grade: C+

One Word: Uneven

CRAZY can best be described as a tale of two halves. The first, a dreary one-star setup for a a story of a teen's crush on a camp friend as she descends into bipolar hell. Told primarily in email between Connor, the nerdy, outcast and Izzy, the over-the-top angsty artist. He's needy and super-supportive , she's slowly slipping into deep depression before exploding into often unkind, self-destructive mania. He pushes, she pulls away.

The first 51%, before Izzy's initial manic episode had me wondering about all the hype and rave reviews of realistic depiction of mental illness. I felt bad for Connor, wishing he demanded better treatment from Iz. The son of a psychologist, he knew she was deteriorating sooner than most teens would. I wished he would have spoken to his mom sooner, but understood his reluctance. He was often a better friend than she deserved, but luckily for her, he was the friend she needed. I'm not sure how much he grew throughout CRAZY.

Isabel did learn and grow by the end of the novel. She took some time for me to embrace, mostly because she was often unkind to Connor, who wore his heart on his sleeves. She should have been hospitalized after her first manic episode, but her parents and sister didn't realize the severity of her condition. She was out of control. Only in the last 10% of the story did I begin to find her redeemable.

CRAZY realistically shows the affects of bipolar disorder nor just on the sufferer, but on her loved ones. I wish the wonderful Amy Reed hadn't spent so much time setting up Izzy's first apparent signs, but she paralleled how mental illness can creep up on a family. Initial symptoms can be attributed to teen angst, personality or acting out and only when behavior strays do far from the norm or previous persons does the sufferer or her parents realize something is seriously wrong. Reed does a great job attributing mental illness to brain chemistry in a subtle way that doesn't feel preachy or instructive.

THEMES: mental illness, bipolar disorder, mania, depression, friendship, family, siblings, parents

CRAZY starts slowly, but the realistic second half make this a worthwhile read in the understanding of bipolar disorder and teen mental health.
Profile Image for Katie.
291 reviews14 followers
September 17, 2015
This book is the first Amy Reed book that I've read, and I really enjoyed it. It is told in a unique format, which is e-mail format. Towards the end there are also a few journal entries. The story kept me turning the pages to see what else would happen in Connor's and Izzy's lives.


Connor is a really great guy, and he is very caring. Connor wants to help Izzy, but he also doesn't want her to get mad at him. He is supportive of her, and he lets her know that he's there if she needs help. He gets annoyed when she skirts around his questions to avoid answering. He doesn't really have any friends at school, but during the book, he finds a friend named Jeremy. He's in love with Izzy, and he doesn't want anything bad to happen to her. He knows that his therapist mom could probably help her, but he also knows Izzy will be angry if he finds help for her.

Izzy has many problems of her own. She has bipolar disorder, but she doesn't know this yet. She experiences many highs and lows. She goes from feeling depressed to feeling almost too energized. She doesn't want to admit to Connor that she may need professional help. Her family has problems too. Her older brother is in jail. Her sister, on the other hand, is married and will be having a child. Izzy has a boyfriend named Trevor who is rather distant from her. He is in a band, and he'll see her when he's around, but he's really just using her physically. Izzy could find an emotional relationship in Connor if she realizes he's in love with her.

The format of this book is unique. It is told in e-mails, a few instant messages, and a few journal entries. When a book is told in first person POV, the main characters have thoughts that they keep to themselves that the reader knows. In e-mail format, the characters are sending each other every word on the pages. They are putting much emotion and honesty into all their e-mails. This shows that Connor and Izzy really trust and care about each other.

If you like heavier YA contemporary, read this book.
Profile Image for Rachel.
61 reviews2 followers
August 21, 2015
If you’ve been around me at all lately, you’ve probably heard me mention Amy Reed at least a few times. This woman is an amazing author. She doesn’t hold back and writes with an intensity and honesty that is rarely seen. She’s probably one of my favorite authors, so when I saw this book come out, I knew I needed it immediately. Crazy was so good that I devoured it in two days.

Crazy is written in a series of emails between two teenagers, Connor and Isabel/Izzy, who met at summer camp. At first, Izzy seems like any hormonal teenager with her intense emotions and mood swings. As the story progresses though, her behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Her highs are too high and her lows are too low. Connor is forced to watch from afar as Izzy descends into self-destruction. As Connor gets pulled deeper and deeper into Izzy’s world, he must find out a way to help before it’s too late.

I’ve read a lot of books dealing with the theme of mental illness, some better than others, so I was looking forward to see if Amy Reed would successfully pull it off. Her portrayal of bipolar disorder was probably one of the best I’ve ever read. She was nearly spot on with the kind of devastating destruction mental illness can cause in one’s life and relationships. The writing style and flow of Izzy’s emails spoke volumes about what kind of condition Izzy was in at the time. Like Connor, I found myself being pulled into Izzy’s world. I wanted to save her, but felt helpless and confused at the same time.

This was one of those books that, after finishing, I needed some time alone to think about what I had just read. When trying to describe how I felt to a friend, I was speechless. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading stories that involve raw and pure emotion, because this one sure does. Crazy is a powerful story of love and hope and the reality of mental illness. With every book she writes, Amy Reed just gets better and better.

This review (and more!) can be found at Rachel Reads
50 reviews96 followers
August 13, 2012
If you’ve been around me at all lately, you’ve probably heard me mention Amy Reed at least a few times. This woman is an amazing author. She doesn’t hold back and writes with an intensity and honesty that is rarely seen. She’s probably one of my favorite authors, so when I saw this book come out, I knew I needed it immediately. Crazy was so good that I devoured it in two days.

Crazy is written in a series of emails between two teenagers, Connor and Isabel/Izzy, who met at summer camp. At first, Izzy seems like any hormonal teenager with her intense emotions and mood swings. As the story progresses though, her behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Her highs are too high and her lows are too low. Connor is forced to watch from afar as Izzy descends into self-destruction. As Connor gets pulled deeper and deeper into Izzy’s world, he must find out a way to help before it’s too late.

I’ve read a lot of books dealing with the theme of mental illness, some better than others, so I was looking forward to see if Amy Reed would successfully pull it off. Her portrayal of bipolar disorder was probably one of the best I’ve ever read. She was nearly spot on with the kind of devastating destruction mental illness can cause in one’s life and relationships. The writing style and flow of Izzy’s emails spoke volumes about what kind of condition Izzy was in at the time. Like Connor, I found myself being pulled into Izzy’s world. I wanted to save her, but felt helpless and confused at the same time.

This was one of those books that, after finishing, I needed some time alone to think about what I had just read. When trying to describe how I felt to a friend, I was speechless. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading stories that involve raw and pure emotion, because this one sure does. Crazy is a powerful story of love and hope and the reality of mental illness. With every book she writes, Amy Reed just gets better and better.

This review (and more!) can be found at Rachel Reads
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