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How to Make Friends with the Dark

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Here is what happens when your mother dies.

It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

421 pages, Hardcover

First published April 9, 2019

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About the author

Kathleen Glasgow

12 books6,003 followers
Kathleen Glasgow is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, You'd Be Home Now, How to Make Friends With the Dark, and The Agathas series (with Liz Lawson). Visit her on Twitter (@kathglasgow), Instagram (misskathleenglasgow), her website (www.kathleenglasgowbooks.com), or TikTok @kathleenglasgow.

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5 stars
7,270 (39%)
4 stars
7,220 (38%)
3 stars
3,223 (17%)
2 stars
698 (3%)
1 star
202 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,816 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
263 reviews79.5k followers
January 18, 2020
i cried. this was beautiful. one of the best books about grief i’ve ever read. highly recommend.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,195 reviews40.6k followers
December 21, 2022
Darkest, full of grief and heartbreaking five stars!
There are too many scary things outside world. You may loose your loved ones, you can hurt yourself in several ways. You can lose your possessions, your social circles, your carrier or your dignity, patience, reputation.
But the scariest thing in life is loosing your inner light , turn it off forever and surrender to the dark!
This book is really pessimistic, depressing, heart wrenching! Too many times I thought to stop reading but I pushed myself to be patient. Because I know really well how to lose someone and suffer from deepest and never ever ending pain! It never goes away because when you lose someone you lose some parts of yourselves and you turn into a different person.
So Grace a.k.a Tiger’s tragic journey after her loosing her mother is so realistic so sad but also so genuine, poignant and easy to connect.
After her first connection with her sister, book takes a different route. We see Grace literally turns into a tiger and shows her claws against the bullies, starts to make new friends by discovering outside world and finally understands she is not alone on this world. There are too many people try to fight against their dark sides, suffer from dysfunctional family relationships, heal from losing someone.
I loved this book’s approach to the importance of sisterhood, friendship and sharing yourself instead of bottling up everything inside and living with paranoias.
As a summary if we want to take control of lives and fill the blank pages by designating our own fate, we have to learn making peace with the darkness !!!

Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,596 followers
May 23, 2020

Many thanks to Delacorte Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

I got to meet Kathleen at the National Book Festival!!

Oh my god. I don't think I have EVER read a book better than this one. It made me giggle. It made me cry. This is a book that everyone needs to read. And then read again. And again.

This book but me with a tsunami of emotions. Stronger than anything a book has ever made me feel in a while.

Grief is a very hard thing to put on to paper. I mean having someone you love die is one of the hardest things any human will ever have to face. I have been fortunate to only face it once. Even so, I know how painful it can be. I could relate to Tiger's pain. I know the feeling of not knowing what to do, what to say or who to turn to.

Even though, I've never experienced foster care of anything like that, I still felt Tiger's fear and sadness when she was put into the system. When I went through the process of admitting myself to Psych Inpatient, I felt out of control. I felt like my life had been taken away in one fell swoop.

For a rather large portion of the novel, Tiger is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Even though it's never directly saud, it's heavily implied and rather obvious. This also broke my heart because I've been there. I know how it feels to get sick of people saying "Things will get better" or "Keep going"

One of Tiger's many frustrations and fears was being moved from home to home. I also could relate to this. As I said earlier, I am fortunate enough to live with the same family for my entire life. But while I was at the hospital, I was constantly being moved from room to room and the staff was changing. Every time, I felt comfortable with one set of staff, it would switch and I'd have to do it all over again.

Finally, I love the honesty in this book. Most books about mental health and death do say dumb things like "Things will get better" and "Keep going". This one doesn't. It says that life is hard and that's okay. It's okay to be in pain. The key is learning how to get through it.

Many thanks to Delacorte for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Suicide Lifeline
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room

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Profile Image for Kathleen Glasgow.
Author 12 books6,003 followers
July 31, 2018
This book is now a thing! It's about a girl named Tiger Tolliver who has to learn how to live with loss. It's about learning what family means. What it means to take care of someone and let yourself be cared for. Feel free to ask me questions about it and I'll do my best to answer.
Profile Image for jaime ⭐️.
122 reviews5,866 followers
June 14, 2019
times i cried during this book: six
times i texted my mum and my dad to tell them i love them while reading parts of this book: countless
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
616 reviews496 followers
August 18, 2020
Going into How to Make Friends with the Dark I knew I was dealing with heart hitting, emotional prose that will leave me feel low, but nothing prepared me for the amount of emotions I feltl.
This book was heart wrenching in all it means!

I picked this book during a readathon, which was a HUGE mistake. You see, because so many bad things happened to our main character Tiger, it was really hard for me to speed through the story.
So I failed the readathon, but I got so much from this novel, that I’m not even sorry.
Some book just take time, and this is one of those books.
I wouldn’t have it any other way, because even though it was emotionally hard for me to process everything, by taking my time I think I got the most out of it.

The story follows Tiger who’s mother died suddenly. There were only two of them, so without the other parent, Tiger became the property of state, and not only does she grive her mother, but her life also completely changed.

The story talks about grief, friendships, family relationships, foster care and all kinds of domestic violence.
It is really an eye opening book and it makes reader question the system and justice.

The writing style is beautiful. There are many quotes I saved in my notes, that I’ll reread from time to time.
It is written in first person, following Tiger’s POV.

There is no romance in this young adult contemporary, so be aware of that (some readers will be happy about it I guess)!

In the end, I want to recommend How to Make Friends with the Dark to ya contemporary lovers who are looking for an emotional story without romance in it.

Read this and more reviews on my blog https://bookdustmagic.com
Profile Image for AbbysBooks.
78 reviews2,833 followers
February 4, 2021
Heartbreaking but beautiful. I felt like I went on a journey reading this book. It made me smile but more often it made me cry. It was such an honest depiction of grief and several individuals journey as they are forced to navigate it.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,794 followers
July 8, 2019
i really loved the first half of this book and its portrayal of grief and trauma. tiger's home and school life felt so authentic and made me want to sob 43241 times

but the second half was,,,,,,,,boring IM SORRY

i was more detached from the characters and found it tiring to keep reading (y'all the book is 400 pages and if i aint entertained for 400 pages, it isnt going to work well) everything felt very repetitive and the characters, aside from tiger, felt so one-dimensional

this story was really powerful and my heart was hurting while i was reading it, but it just didn't work out for me

so, disappointed is me
Profile Image for Jenny Jo Weir.
1,545 reviews79 followers
July 3, 2020
This one was difficult. It's sad, and real, and a bit tragic. I liked the unexpected events of the after effects and the unraveling of life in this novel. It's not one I'll be forgetting any time soon.
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 4 books2,239 followers
November 20, 2019
Review to come but Trigger Warnings for self harm, alcohol abuse, grief, loss of a parent, loss of a sibling, loss of a loved on by suicide, loss of a loved one via health (cancer etc), loss of a loved one via accident (car), driving under the influence, discussion of extreme domestic violence (parent on child and boyfriend on girlfriend), emotional abuse, alcoholism, imprisonment of a parent, child neglect, eating disorder rep (is not eating to the point of self harm due to grief)... it’s a difficult book and shouldn’t be gone into lightly but it’s also really beautiful in its own way and I’m glad I read it.
Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
396 reviews365 followers
April 9, 2019
I received this eARC from Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way. All quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof and are subject to change.

You have always been lonely and you have never admitted it.

Obligatory Summary

Tiger Tolliver's mother just died and her whole life has been turned upside down. Traded from foster home to foster home, from strangers to family and back again, she mourns her mother. There is no guide on how to cope with this kind of loss, and she's sinking under the sadness.

My Thoughts

I am honestly so conflicted about this book. I wanted to like it, I really did, and sometimes I did actually like it, but the writing and execution for me were the biggest issues. It was funny sometimes, but also just so strange. I can't really say what I didn't like about it, I just didn't like it.

I had a very hard time connecting with Tiger, the main character. She was very abrasive and I felt strange because I had to remind myself that I should feel bad for her. I've never suffered this specific kind of loss, but I have overcome death-induced depression after the suicide of my friend in high school, so while I could connect with the sentiments on a base level, they didn't inspire any real emotion in me. I'm the kind of person who emotionally connects to literally everything in a book, especially of this genre, so that was a very strange thing for me.

I found many of the other characters felt unrealistic, especially in their dialogue. Sometimes things were said that didn't feel like something any living, breathing human being would say, instead of a book character. Thaddeus came out of nowhere and became her friend in a very short period of time, which felt rushed and unrealistic to me, though I appreciated that he didn't just become a love interest as these characters tend to. The introduction of Lupe Hidalgo was probably the first thing in this that I genuinely didn't like, because she felt extremely cliche and unrealistic, especially with the other high schooler's reaction to her. She felt too blatantly rude, like a Disney Channel mean girl, and not an actual school bully.

I liked Shayna but felt that some of her plot twists could have been done better. There was a lot of weird pacing in this, which I guess reflects real life, but it made for a whiplashy reading experience. There were several times when Tiger just didn't address certain things that seemed like pretty pressing issues, which honestly contributed to my general dislike of her.

The various odd nicknames were jarring, as I've literally never met a single person in my entire life who honestly went by Cake or Crash or something like that. Maybe I've just lived in too many normal places, but that sounds like a cartoon character to me, not a real person.

This could just be a problem with the ARC, but the technical things in the writing were really weird. Like, it felt like this wasn't edited at all. I had such a hard time figuring out who the speaker was sometimes, because dialogue would continue into the next paragraph, but the new speaker rule was followed, even though the speaker was often the same. Like, all the author had to do was remove that extra quotation mark at the end of the first paragraph. It's literally that simple.

Overall, I thought it was fine, even really good at times, but because of the writing, I just really couldn't get into it. You might love it, it might even be your favorite book, but it just wasn't for me.

"Sometimes you need to open yourself to the possibility of the miraculous, Tiger Tolliver. Sometimes you just do."
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,044 followers
April 12, 2021
“Who would ever guess that it isn’t your bones or your blood or your heart that keeps everything humming along inside you, it’s your freaking mom, and when she’s dead, it all disappears.”

Boy, I can't keep count of the number of times I forced these heavy lumps in my throat. Those thoughts about losing your mom, your life anchor at an early age of 16, and the harsh realities of the endless suffering of children without parents for awful reasons such as death, abuse, addiction, etc. make me want to kneel on the floor and sob with abandon which I actually did-the sobbing, not the kneeling.

But thank goodness, the main character has so much humor, it has become an inherent part of her language. It's the one thing that grief couldn't take away from her. Also, the writing is simply amazing. It's lyrical, emotional, and eye-opening.

The plot takes an unexpected turn and the latter half of the book becomes about how to keep going on despite an enormous hole in your heart through friendship and discovering a new family relationship when Tiger finds out she has an older sister, a sister who represents adults who do their best to make lives of these poor children a bit better.

How to Make Friends with the Dark is probably the closest you will get to a lyrical, beautiful, helpful manual to grief. It's written mostly from the author's personal experience and I have so much respect and adoration for the author. I am completely overwhelmed.
Profile Image for Twins.reading.books.
330 reviews1,063 followers
April 2, 2019
Another powerful and masterpiece by Glasgow, How To Make Friends With The Dark is a very stunning book, the story will be pinned in my head for a while because it has such an interesting and curated writings!
We all have ups and downs and I would nothing recommend you to read more than this beautiful and powerful book, Kathleen once again teaches us how to save us in our worst moments, she really reminds us that after lots of hurricanes will come a rainbow that can stuck for a while.
After surviving a tragedy for Tiger is nothing the same anymore, I really cried a lot of times reading this epic book, Kathleen has an ability when she makes the scene so perfect as you find it delightful and your face starts to laugh but right in the second comes the emotional parts and everything ruins with the potions of the reality that we all face it day after day.
The book is very unique, heart-breaking and has strong statements within that you'll love while reading it! Girl In Pieces was among my most favourite reads of 2018, I can tell that this will also be in my top reads because it's such an amazing book.
At the end we all have different levels of strength so I love the ending of the book and I felt the relationship between Tiger and her mum so much, definitely 5/5 book and I highly recommend you to read it!!
Profile Image for ˗ˏˋ lia ˎˊ˗.
282 reviews377 followers
November 29, 2019
“you are carrying so many heavy feelings. there just isn’t enough room for them all.”

going into this book, i had absolutely no idea what it was about. the only thing i knew was that it was going to be a sad contemporary, and that it was indeed. since i barely heard anyone talk about the novel either, i also pretty much had no expectations and that was ideal, to be quite honest. i feel like if how to make friends with the dark had been praised by everyone i watch on booktube and everyone whose opinions are similar to mine, i would’ve been heavily disappointed.

this book heavily deals with the loss of a loved person and the grief following that. i am fortunate enough to have only went through that twice with the passing of my grandparents, but i can’t and don’t want to imagine how much it must hurt to lose someone from your immediate family. tiger has it even worse than that because her mom is pretty much the only family she’s ever known. going through the foster care system is something i don’t wish on anybody. i don’t have any personal experiences whatsoever, but the fosters is one of my favorite shows of all time which deals with foster families and how much of a mess the american foster care system is. so having watched that, i knew it was very much fucked up, and it is unfortunate that tiger has to go through that.

i loved how we got to know tiger on such a personal level, got to connect with her and really felt her pain and fears concerning different aspects of her life and what’s to come. honestly, i can’t think of any character i have so genuinely sympathized with so quickly, and i’ve got the author’s great writing to thank for that. girl in pieces was a 2 star read for me, so i’m glad i felt very different about her new work.

after all the positive stuff, there’s also some negative things as this wasn’t a perfect book for me personally. just like in kathleen glasgow’s previous book, i loved the first half of it so much, while the rest was really lacking when comparing the both. the ending was well rounded and all, but the 100 or so pages before the resolution were really dull and could’ve been cut so much shorter to not bore the reader to death. still all in all a good read, and i’m glad i spontaneously decided to pick it up.

→ 4 stars
Profile Image for Daisy.
67 reviews389 followers
January 14, 2021
utter pain and sadness. this is the only book that has made me cry whilst reading. all i want to do is hug my parents and never let go
Profile Image for Cortney -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach.
822 reviews108 followers
July 30, 2022
I'm in the minority, but I didn't love this. It was slow-paced, 100 pages too long, and I feel like there was a lot of wasted potential. The author touched on the surface of so much, but never really delved into the other characters or their stories.
Profile Image for Amy.
500 reviews77 followers
April 10, 2019
Grief is extremely personal. No two people experience and process their grief in the same way. Kathleen Glasgow's novel How to Make Friends with the Dark beautifully explores the complexity, the isolation, the raw pain you feel when someone you love dies.

What's it about?
Tiger's mother may be overprotective, but it has always been Tiger and her mother against the world.

On a day like any other, after harsh words you can't take back are exchanged, Tiger's mother unexpectedly dies. And now Tiger is alone.

The raw, gaping hole in her heart is all that remains and Tiger has to learn how to make friends with the dark.

My Thoughts
I read Katheleen Glasgow's debut Girl in Pieces 2 years ago and I was blown away. That book was a ROLLER COASTER. My expectations for How to Make Friends with the Dark were high. And was I let down?

No, no I was not.

How to Make Friends with the Dark takes you on a wild ride from a normal school day with the hopes of kissing your crush to literally the worst moment for anyone to go through: identifying your mother's body in a morgue. From there you're whisked away and shoved into the foster system, placed in the charge of a harsh caregiver who locks and inventories their food to a lovable hippy who is really doing the best they can with a girl ripped apart from the inside out, and finally placed under the care of a long lost sister barely older than Tiger.

You spend a lot of time stuck in Tiger's mind and her thoughts, for the first part of the book, can be quite cyclical and repetitive and a bit like "get on with it." I also can suffer from repetitive thoughts, but that doesn't mean I didn't find it frustrating at times and all I could think was "let's get a move on." (Don't tell someone grieving to just get over it… You might get slapped in the mouth.) But "move on" it does.

What I Liked:
• Strong Female Friendships. Cake and Tiger (literally some of craziest names I've ever encountered in contemporary fiction) have such a solid friendship. It's beautiful. When it would have been easy for Tiger to push Cake away or for Cake to disappear when things get hard and Tiger's emotions are messy, their friendship weathers the storm. Cake is always there for Tiger, almost to the detriment of herself.
• Realistic Portrayals of Teenagers. In the beginning, I related to Tiger so much. She is one of the most realistic portrayals of a teen girl I have ever read. I was getting flashbacks to how I felt in high school, looking around me at all the girls that seemed so mature while I felt like a lump of misshapen dough.
• Realistic Portrayal of Grief. Tiger's grief is almost palpable at times and at other times its can be frustrating. You just want to shake her and yell "Snap out of it!" She acts out. She wears the same dress she fought with her mom about for WEEKS on end. She gets angry. She fights. Her thoughts get very dark.
• No Romance. Yes, you read that right! No romance. In a genre that easily falls into the trap of "love fixes all", this book is not one of them.
• Shayna. Literally my favorite character. She's smart, strong, funny, and compassionate. She has little self awareness at times and can be quite rude. But she's real. She pushes Tiger when no one else around her is willing to push her. She is not necessarily someone I would like in real life, she is a bit off putting at times, but in this story, I loved her.
• The notion that you are not alone no matter how isolated in your grief you feel. For the better part of the book, Tiger feels alone in her grief. She feels like an island floating out to sea in darkness she alone can feel surrounded by smiling happy faces. But she eventually realizes, she is not alone. She isn't the only to lose a loved one let alone lose a parent.
• Jellymobile. I don't like jelly, but I can get on board with a jellymobile. I am only human after all.

What I Didn't Like:
• Pacing. A lot happens in this books. Just like in Kathleen Glasgow's other novel Girl in Pieces, it starts slow and then goes sideways fast. It’s the same complaint I had with that book that I have with this one. Almost nothing happens for the first 150 - 200 pages and then EVERYTHING happens in the last 200 pages. Those last 200 pages are gripping, but I just feel this book would have benefited from reducing the cyclical thoughts and spreading out the action over more pages. A lot of stuff happens and its important and I think delving into it more and exploring the consequences of people's choices would have turned this into a 5 star read for me.

Grief is complicated and deserves to be explored in an honest and open way. This book manages that without being preachy or filling itself with meaningless like platitudes. Kathleen Glasgow is unflinching in the face of pain and we could all stand to learn how to make friends with the dark.

Trigger Warnings: abuse, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts, suicide

Thank you to Netgalley, Delacorte Press, and Children's Random House for supplying me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and I have not been influence by the publisher or the author.
Profile Image for Sandra Deaconu.
667 reviews103 followers
September 28, 2020
Pe cât de mult mi-a plăcut O fată din bucăți la acea vreme, pe atât de rece am rămas în timpul acestei lecturi. Nu m-am apropiat de niciun personaj, nu am fost înduioșată de scriitură și nici nu am avut vreo revelație emoțională. Cred că pur și simplu m-a prins într-o pasă în care nu eram dispusă deloc să mă implic într-o dramă. Am citit despre un copil al cărui tată i-a rupt spatele, o fetiță abandonată de mama drogată, alta care a trebuit să conducă de la 11 ani pentru a-și aduce tatăl de la bar etc. Mult prea multe tragedii. Și pentru ce?! Ca morala să fie că sunt dureri care nu dispar niciodată și trebuie pur și simplu să înveți să trăiești în ciuda lor. Mersi, știam deja! Dacă vă plac poveștile triste și empatizați ușor cu personajele care trec prin greutăți, atunci vă va plăcea și aceasta pentru că este o carte bunicică în cea mai mare parte, doar că nu a reușit să ajungă la mine decât în proporție de 30%. Recenzia aici: https://bit.ly/2UZmuVg.

,,Dacă te-ai uita chiar acum în oglindă la tine, ai vedea oare bucăți de oase aproape de suprafață? Așa o să te simți în fiecare zi de acum?
Ca și cum mergi fără să-ți fi rămas prea multă piele, ca și cum toată lumea îți vede oasele și inima, acum, că mama ta e moartă?''
Profile Image for TL .
1,819 reviews35 followers
April 19, 2019
This book tore at my emotions the whole time and broke my heart many times. I can't pick one that stands out more than the others.

It reminded me of when I was grieving for my furbabies Tasha and Lilly, my bird Woody, Grandma, and Pop Pop. I kept thinking I was feeling this.. I experienced that! She gets it!

Not to compare my experiences to anyone else's, just to let you in to my thought process.

Some things in the end chapters had me almost outright bawling in the breakroom and smiling a little at one particular happening. The whole novel was beautiful but those chapters there really struck me.

Profile Image for TG Fuentes.
13 reviews5 followers
July 27, 2019

Warning: I cuss. Because this book gave me an aneurism.

Honestly, I still probably would’ve given it a 3-3.5 even if I don’t count the last third.
If at

This book was exhausting. And not in the way Girl in Pieces was. Even being almost the exact same length. At least I could say Girl in Pieces had... well... structure.

Now, I get it. As a writer and a reader. I don’t demand my books have rigid three act structures. In fact I fancy myself a five act structure fan.

Honestly, a hundred or so pages could’ve been lost. We didn’t need the first foster home. We didnt need the ranch scene, especially since it did very little to show her mother’s love of horses.

I’d say when it was at its best, it was most of the first half and the second foster home she was in. And I got excited when her sister showed up. But then??? Down hill. We weren’t building to anything. I just flat ass didn’t care the last portion of the book.

The book could’ve been cut in half, and we could’ve had a sequel. In fact, that’s what 90% of the last half of the book feels like. It could’ve been a decent sequel, with a bit of re writing and editing.

The characters were flat at times. I can’t remember much about anyone. Tiger was flat. The stupid skateboard shit never came up again. I was never given a reason to care about it.

Also, the drunk driving scene??? If you read my love updates while going through this scene, I think you can physically feel my hatred of Tiger. What a dumbass thing to do. Sweetie, your sister is possibly dying. Can we save the drunk driving for later?

I didn’t care when she was in jail. I was not attached to her after the second part of the book. It should have ENDED there, then be picked up later.

And for a book that says grief takes a lifetime, I don’t see why it thinks it must also FEEL like a lifetime to read about. I’m not kidding. This was one of the hardest reads to get through. And I’ve read the Fountainhead AND Atlas Shrugged. At least the last chapter of Atlas made me angry for how long and pointless it was, and how it’s ruining its story by preaching.

This??! This just made me think Tiger was a dumbass who’s mom raised her to be that way.

At least Charlie in A Girl in Pieces was a character. She liked art and music, and knew how to take care of herself. Everything about Tiger I know is that her s’mother died, and her she use to skateboard.

Tiger has no character growth besides feeling bad and wearing the dress. It isn’t even her choice to take it off... SHE GOES TO JUVIE AND HAD NO CHOICE. Her personality trait is deer in the headlights.

The drunk driving bullshit came out of nowhere. At least Charlie’s decent back into self harm was gradual. And we could see her breakdown a mile away. And that was a good thing! But this book??? No. No planting. No payoff.

This book could’ve used someone to cut it up into two parts. I would’ve been fine with the book ending with Tiger meeting her sister. Then we could start the third act plot of... I don’t know. We lost all sense of plot.

The first half was about her mom dying, and being in a foster home. The second half is about 1000 things and it’s hard to remember them all. An abusive boyfriend, school, a horse ranch, alcohol, that one lesbian chick from the first chapter who made fun of tiger in the most cliche way, drunk driving, music camp, horses, juvie.... way too fucking much plot.

I could go on. But honestly, it’s not worth it. I read this book, hoping and praying it would get better. That I would feel an actual emotion besides “are you fucking kidding me?”.

But no. I got flat characters and too many plot lines that end flat.

A disappointment, considering how much I loved Girl in Pieces. But I’ll still check out Kathleen’s next book...

Maybe if your mother is dead and you too are a deer in the headlights, maybe you’ll like it. But for my money on a book on grief, I’d go with Mick Harte Was Here (a middle grade but still really good), or Stealing Kevin’s Heart.


EDIT: and for a good book on life in foster care, I suggest The Boy Who Carried Bricks
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for akacya ❦.
913 reviews136 followers
October 24, 2022
kathleen glasgow writes books for the girlies with mommy issues

tiger learns to cope with the loss of her mother and, subsequently, her innocence in this novel. throughout the book, she goes through a series of events she never would have gone through if not for her mother’s death, including foster care, and she must learn to make friends with the dark before it swallows her whole.

tiger was such a neat character and i found myself growing attached to her. she definitely did not have a smooth journey—which, of course, no grieving person does, but i’d say her journey was rockier than most others’.

this is the third book of this author’s that i’ve read (out of the three she’s solo-authored). so, going in, i’d say i had pretty high expectations. as you can see, my expectations were definitely met. if you enjoyed the author’s other books, give this a try! the opposite also applies—if you enjoyed this one, read the others! glasgow’s writing is so captivating and i think she depicts mental health/illness so well.

that said, i do recommend this book with hesitation. if you’ve lost your mom or even someone very close to you, this book could be incredibly triggering for you, no matter how long ago it was. this entire book is about tiger’s grief, so it’s not like you ever really get a break from it, so please keep that in mind if you decide you’d like to read this book!
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 13 books3,019 followers
December 23, 2018
In this raw, powerful and heartbreaking meditation on loss and grief, Glasgow writes with unflinching beauty. We meet Tiger Tolliver at her most broken--at her darkest moment--and yet, somehow, How To Make Friends With the Dark teaches us how to let the light in. Read this book. It's gorgeous.
Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 19 books421 followers
September 18, 2019
Tuesdays with Morrie made me sob like a baby...How to Make Friends with the Dark did not. In fact, it left me feeling a smidge ambivalent.

Please don't misunderstand. This was a good story. The writing was fantastic, the characters were insightful and brimming with depth, and the theme was topical and on point. Something about it though, felt plastic? generic? empty? I'm not entirely sure I can pinpoint why I felt this way, I just did. I realize every person experiences grief differently, but Tiger's felt more than a little over-the-top. Just because she's a teenager experiencing grief, doesn't mean she's going to grieve stereotypically. I lost one of my favorite people in the world, my aunt, to homicide when I was just 17. I was shattered...completely heartbroken. Not only were we dealing with the tragic, unexpected death of a family member, we then had to deal with a homicide trial and far too much publicity. It was nightmarish. Aside from my trigonometry grade slipping and some terrifying nightmares, I survived...and without becoming a cliché.

I was also a bit miffed by all the unanswered questions upon the conclusion of the story...it felt terribly unfinished to me.

I wouldn't call this a page-turner...it took me quite awhile to get through what should have been a quick read. It's just so heavy, I found myself avoiding it as much as possible. Perhaps I wasn't in the right mind frame for something so dark. I do believe this is worth reading if you enjoy somber young adult novels.
Profile Image for Obelina Wang .
125 reviews194 followers
February 21, 2020
“I’ll never see her crescent moon superhero mark again. It seems wrong to put her in a box and shove her underground and walk away. She made jams and jellies and grew irises and sunflowers and told me about periods and breasts and bras and how to properly wash my face and she brushed my hair…”

My grandmother had a garden full of plants, a house filled with fishes and turtles and she loved hosting. She had a life filled with adventures and plenty of people who adored her. She cooked all types of food every day for over two decades of my life, feeding me, feeding the entire family and every person who ever came into our house. She bathed me, taught me, cared for me all the time, and especially so when I was sick. She rubbed ointment on me, made sure I showered, made sure I took my medicine and she did it every single time I was sick. She made sure I had manners, greeted people, said my farewells, did my chores and handled all my responsibilities. She taught me how to be a person, a decent human being.

I am who I am because of her. And last month, I lost her. She has always been around every single time I’ve left this house, left the country and she was there every single time I came back, happy. She loved having me home. I can’t imagine how such a wonderful human filled with so much life and presence can be gone just like that, everything disappearing all at once. My heart breaks every time I think about where she’s placed right now and I hope, I can only pray that she’s not alone wherever she really is.

My heart is in a permanent state of broken and it will always have a hole in it for as long as I live. All that to say, I can thoroughly understand how Tiger feels. I’ve thought of all the things she wondered about too. Can she hear me? Will she visit me? Does she know how I am right now? I think about all the things we will never get to do again, all the lasts we just had. I cried reading this book, once in public too. It was maybe just the right book at the right time, but it has been a while since I’ve teared up over a book. I just felt the emotions and thoughts expressed on the pages so much. After not sleeping and not eating for some time, I’ve decided that all I can do now is to continue living my life well and to do all the things I want to while holding the thoughts and memories of her close. She lived with no regrets, and so I will too.

And you know, regarding the bully in this book… I have a Lupe Hidalgo in my life too. There was a girl in school who bullied me way back when. But many years down the line, she apologized to me and we’ve been close ever since. So yeah, that really happens too.

“You don’t honor your mother by wearing a dress, honey. You honor your mother by remembering her, and holding her dear, right here.” She taps her heart.
Profile Image for Katy.
34 reviews10 followers
May 20, 2022
You need a good state of mind when you start reading this book. Truly heartbreaking, but at the same time so beautiful and amazing. It really makes sense and I highly recommend it. It may be difficult to start reading a book because the topic is difficult, but it is definitely worth the time.
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