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The Divided Series #1

A Divided Mind

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Sometimes that little voice in your head isn’t always yours.

What if the only friend you have isn’t real? When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still got… only to discover he’s not really there.


First published July 27, 2019

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About the author

M. Billiter

3 books82 followers
M. Billiter is the alter ego of contemporary, award-winning romance author, Mary Billliter.

After writing more than a dozen love stories, she is exploring the other side. Best known for her emotional honesty, Mary doesn’t write about well-adjusted people, but rather the wounds in life.

M. Billiter writes with clarity and raw emotion to explore difficult subjects and issues close to her heart.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 148 reviews
Profile Image for Julie (JuJu).
555 reviews187 followers
June 15, 2019
A well-written, emotional journey through a young man’s diagnosis of mental illness and the struggles his family faces. Psychological thrillers with mental illness are usually a big hit with me, but this one doesn’t classify. If you’re looking for a real “thriller”, this isn’t it.

Tara is a twice-divorced mother, with four children from two different fathers. Although her personal life is somewhat of a wreck, she’s successful in her career at Wyoming State University as the Director of Admissions.

Her first marriage was a domestic nightmare, but she came out of it with three great kids, twin boys—Aaron and Branson, and a daughter, Carson.

The story is told from Tara and Branson’s POV’s. The twins are H.S. Seniors and thanks to their mother’s knowledge and career, they are preparing for college. Until Branson has an episode at school and tells his mother he’s been hearing voices.

My sympathy went to Brandon, his years of struggling and dealing with his issues in silence. Being a twin, I think Aaron was the sibling that was most effected. Carson was probably the smartest and most mature family member, giving much better advice than her mother. She was also my favorite character and the funniest!

I struggled to relate to Tara. As a single mother myself, I sympathized with her and understood her feelings of guilt. But I couldn’t get past the way she described her life. One minute she was telling us about her financial stress, and the next minute she’s describing her Christian Louboutin sandals, Jimmy Choos and silver Jaguar F-Coupe. She goes on to tell us the Jaguar is paid for and she could “sell the car and live on its net worth for a year”. Sorry, but I don’t know any struggling divorced mothers, with four kids, who drive a Jaguar! The chapters told from her POV were not my favorite.

I felt more sympathy for Branson’s girlfriend, Dakota and her mother. They lived in a poor neighborhood nicknamed “Felony Flats”. Their small, rented apartment was furnished with older, worn out items and her mother was a nurse, working double shifts and seldom home because they were barely scraping by.

This one was interesting, but too slow moving for me.

Thank you to BookSirens, the author and Tangled Tree Publishing for this digital ARC, in exchange for my honest review!

My Rating: 3.5 ⭐️’s
Published: July 27th 2019 by Hot Tree Publishing
Pages: 322
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,757 reviews285 followers
May 27, 2019
I wasn't 100% sure what this novel would be about, but as soon as I started reading it. I found myself in my element as a topic that has been massively popular in my reading interests is those edgy books that feature issues with mental health and illnesses. In A Divided Mind by M. Billiter, we have the point of views of Tara, Branson, and Aaron. Tara is a single mother of four children and working at the local college in the admissions office. She has two sons in high school Branson and Aaron and two little ones - a daughter and a son. She is busy trying to keep her family afloat when she receives a call about her son Branson that he has blacked out. We later learn that Branson has been hearing voices and blacking out often. The therapist diagnoses it as PTSD from childhood trauma, but then we read it as it develops into schizophrenia and hallucinations as Branson has an imaginary friend Trevor. When Tara finds a journal of Branson's, she believes certain people are targeting her son and therefore tries to exact her justice but what happens when everything seems to be all part of Branson's delusions, and he starts to pull the family down with him. Can Tara persuade Branson to get the help he needs before he spirals into utter chaos and hurts one of his younger siblings or worst himself? A Divided Mind was listed as a Mystery/Thriller, but I would move it into the New Adult / Family Saga genre. If you love books that feature Mental Health and Illnesses, then you will enjoy A Divided Mind by M. Billiter.
Profile Image for Constantine.
785 reviews120 followers
July 6, 2019
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Contemporary + Mental illness

The story is about Tara & her son Branson who is suffering from a form of schizophrenia that is called Schizoaffective disorder. The whole story is about how the family will be affected and cope with Branson's illness.

Book Structure:
According to Goodreads, this book is 322 pages, with 39 chapters. The chapters are in decent length. The story is told from two perspectives, Tara's & Branson's.

- Tara's perspective chapters show what a mother would do to protect her child. She has committed some mistakes & may even said some things that I won't agree with but all with the excuse that she needed to protect her son. I can see many readers who will sympathize with her.

- The relationship between Branson and his twin Aaron was heartwarming. I really like how Aaron was always there to protect his brother and be there for him. Aaron was the eye to look after his brother when the mother was not there.

- Wrong marketing: I have no idea why this book is marketed as a thriller! On Booksirens, Amazon, etc it is all listed under the thriller genre. The publishers need to change this because this will affect the reviews and ratings of the book. Readers will grab it as a thriller but will be disappointed that it is not what they wanted. This book is contemporary with mental illness representation.

Final Thought:
I grabbed this book because I needed to read something in that genre but it turned out being a contemporary book. However, I will have to say that I liked the story. I think the author did a good job of presenting this theme. She must've made thorough research about it as the book offers lots of details and information in that department. The book will be released on July 27th, 2019. I give A Divided Mind 3.5 stars out of 5.0

Many thanks to BookSirens & the publisher for providing me an advanced reading copy (ARC) of this book in return of this honest & unbiased review.
Profile Image for Kristin Scearce.
487 reviews16 followers
December 29, 2018
This book made me so emotional. I laughed, I cried... and I cried... and I cried. It's so raw and real and just sucks you in right from the start. Such a true testament to what people in this situation go through, not just the individual affected but also their family, friends, and other relationships. I just can't recommend this book enough!
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews74 followers
April 9, 2019
A Divided Mind is an interesting read about a boy who is schizophrenic. I'm glad to read a book that doesn't shy away from mental illness. It's an important topic that needs to be addressed much more often than it actually is. The story is riveting and heart wrenching but also hopeful. I felt sympathetic toward the characters. It's a book to read with an open mind and an understanding that mental illness is very real. Families suffer and adjust as shown in the story. I hope this book speaks to you in some way that illuminates the hidden reality so many people deal with daily. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Yellagirlgc.
401 reviews42 followers
November 9, 2019
Getting a phone call from my child letting me know they're hearing voices would rock my world! That's what happened in this book and I sympathized with these parents. As well as the 17 year old, Brandon that everything was happening to. How do you react? I really felt connected to the families pain. Great book.

Thank you Netgalley for providing an ARC for me to read and review.
Profile Image for Morgan Schulman.
1,174 reviews26 followers
April 5, 2019
I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review

This book is not really a thriller – it’s a wire novel about a boy dealing with schizophrenia and his family’s adjustment. It’s not a bad book, but by no means a thriller
Profile Image for Angela.
4,043 reviews48 followers
August 11, 2019
4 Stars

A Divided Mind by M. Billiter was a lot different to what I had expected- not really in a bad way but definitely not what I thought I’d be reading. I snapped this book up thinking I was getting a thrilling mystery with perhaps a psychological aspect to the story, but instead found a contemporary fiction story focusing on mental illness and how the individual, his family, and friends come to terms with it all. I may have been a little disappointed to begin with, but after reading the story I can honestly say that I don’t regret purchasing this book.
Branson’s story is quite emotive, and it made me think. It has an edgier rawness to the story, but it definitely isn’t a thriller. It was interesting- as the author shows the effects that mental illness can have not only on the individual, but also on their family, and all their other relationships. There is a definite adjustment period, a turbulent time full of struggles, that really tugged at my heartstrings. The author gives detailed insight into the Schizoaffective Disorder- as well as exploring the relationship between Branson and his mother, as well as his twin brother, and other siblings.
The story came across as really well planned, thought-out, and researched- it’s given me plenty to ponder, that’s for sure.

Thank you, Ms. Billiter!
Profile Image for River.
98 reviews
March 25, 2019
As I am writing this, I JUST finished reading A Divided Mind by M. Billiter.

Description: " What if the only friend you have isn't real?

When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he's still got... only to discover he's not really there."

Okay, so this book is being called a psychological thriller. I do not know why. It is not a thriller. It is about a high school senior with schizoaffective disorder (more on that in a sec), and his mother, who loves her children fiercely and would do anything for them; the book goes back and forth between Branson's point of view, and his mother Tara's.

While reading A Divided Mind, I found it really easy to sit there and keep reading without stopping to check my phone, or feed myself. It was gripping. Branson and Tara both have strong voices, and the pacing is just right.

Billiter dedicated the book to her son, who, like Branson, was a senior in high school when he confessed to his mother that he was hearing voices.
Because of this, I felt comfortable that the topic would be covered respectfully and realistically.
And it was.

I really liked this book, I loved Tara and her dedication to her children. Her kids are her world, and I really felt for her. Branson also had my heart. He was really a good kid.

I only have two problems with this book: The first is that it is said twice that Branson has schizoaffective disorder, but it was used interchangeably with schizophrenia. They are not the same thing.
The second is the epilogue. I wish I hadn't read it. It just hit me really hard, and not in a way that I liked.

But I don't want you to let that stop you from reading A Divided Mind, because it IS really good, and so worth it.
Profile Image for catherine ♡.
1,129 reviews148 followers
May 26, 2019
Hm. I really thought this book would be thriller/suspense, but it's really more of a contemporary book on mental illness (which I can still appreciate). It definitely wasn't what I expected, though, and the "friend" mentioned in the blurb doesn't show up until halfway through the book, and by then we already knew that the friend wasn't real. I also wasn't a huge fan of the mom's perspective, and while I liked that it showed the point of view of someone else, reading about her job and things like that just weren't very interesting.
Profile Image for E.A..
940 reviews27 followers
August 12, 2019
A Divided Mind by M. Billiter was a unique read that was a completely different then I thought it would be.

I went into this book thinking it was a thriller but, it was more like a life contemporary, about metal illness, and how this family had to face that life challenge. So it was a little off putting for me that this wasn't the thriller I was hoping for, but overall I did like this story. You can tell a lot of care and research went into making the read as emotional and realistic as possible.

I will say that, the mother was not my fave, as this book was told in dual POV, you got a few different angles. She has expansive taste, but complained about the financial stress; seemed like she didn't have her priorities all that straight. I just couldn't connect all that well with her. Branson on the other hand, was a well written complex character, that drew me in, and really made this story for me. I love when it was his POV, and that's what kept me reading.

Overall this book is a surprise, and it as a whole, is quite the multi-layered tale about a families journey through the effects that mental illness has on not only the MC, but his family circle as well. On that note this book gets my high recommendation and my stamp of approval

Happy Reading.

-E.A. Walsh
Profile Image for Liz.
1,327 reviews18 followers
July 27, 2019
Thrillers are often one of my guilty pleasures. So when I saw the gripping cover for A Divided Mind I sort of went in blind. I have not read M. Billiter before so I was also new to her writing. I think I was quite pleasantly surprised by what this book turned into being. I will say right now, this book doesn’t really belong in the thriller category, to me at least. It doesn’t mean this book wasn’t great it is just miscategorized for what the story truly does tell.

What do we get then if not a thriller? A very emotional and thought provoking journey of a young man, Branson, and his fight with his mental health. This is written in dual POV sharing his thoughts and journey and being balanced with his mother’s, Tara, point of view. I really felt so much emotion every single time I would get to his parts of the book. I wanted to reach in and give him a hug. Tara on the other hand, I struggled to get attached to. I kind of feel like she went about things in some questionable ways. In the same point, it made the story have dimension to see her struggles with dealing with single motherhood and a mentally troubled son. Overall, for me this was a pretty solid four star read. I will definitely be on the look-out for more novels by M. Billiter and I look forward to seeing what new things are in the works.
Profile Image for Avanders.
433 reviews14 followers
May 5, 2019
Review based on ARC (Advanced Readers Copy received for free in exchange for an honest review).

I am always drawn to novels covering psychological issues. In this one, what we know from the start is that the main kid (late-high school twin boy) hears voices in his head. That was enough for me to request the book.

When I received it, contrary to my normal way of proceeding, I read what is called a dedication, but amounts to a sort of mini-introduction. I was pulled in by the pictures, I must confess. The author explains The problem with knowing this in advance is that it somewhat colored my reading of the story -- it was hard to know

Nonetheless, the story itself is definitely intriguing and reads quickly. It switches back and forth between the mother's perspective and the son's perspective. It reads a bit like a "drama" (books that occur in the real world, not in fantasy, e.g.), but it definitely has aspects of "thriller" and "suspense" thrown in. The questions present themselves -- how will Branson (main character) live, what will be affected, what is really wrong, why is it wrong, will they resolve this, will anyone get harmed, who is real, who knows, etc. I liked the foil of his twin brother (who does not hear voices), and I also liked that he didn't take the stage at any point. I kind of loved the sister, but also appreciated that she didn't take away the light from the point of the story. I appreciated the friends/girlfriends who dotted the way, and continued to enjoy the focus on Branson's journey.

As for Tara (the mother), I had some difficulties there. I think the author did a really good job of presenting a very compassionate and caring yet deeply flawed character. The flaws reflected real life insecurities and cares. As a mother myself, I can understand the desire to protect your own. But that didn't mean I particularly *liked* her. She was not someone I found myself wanting to be friends with, but I felt that, nonetheless, she was a well written character.

As I continued to read, I found myself understanding more and predicting less. Ultimately, discovering various potential motivations and seeing the various ways people can and do react to this sort of thing, even it its very beginning stages, was interesting and made for a good read in this novel format.

Overall, after realizing the book was a back-and-forth real-life type of story, I nonetheless thought the book was surprisingly good. Except I absolutely *hated* the epilogue. I felt that it was perhaps an effort to set up a sequel? Or just to be coy? But I felt it undermined most of what happened in the rest of the story. So... what that really means is, if you think reading about a teenage son and mother's experiences with coming to terms with and understanding what might happen after the initial announcement of "I hear voices," read the book. Just skip the epilogue. Seriously.

THREE of five stars. Probably dinged a bit for that epilogue.
75 reviews5 followers
July 2, 2019

This book is a MUST READ for anyone in, or wanting to know more about mental health in the world today. An engrossing story from start to finish INSPIRED by real life. I laughed, cried and cheered for this family and their struggles with fear, misdiagnoses and the often negative stigmatizing of people afflicted with-and affected by mental health/illness today. I finished this read about 10 days ago and it is still in the forefront of my mind. You will not be sorry that you picked up this book! Again, I say BRAVO!
Profile Image for Nicole.
218 reviews3 followers
April 8, 2019
I was nervous picking up this book. Mental illness is a tough subject to tackle and is often dramatized to the point of being inaccurate. That was not the case with A Divided Mind.

As someone who actually suffers with the illness written about in A Divided Mind, Billiter did a great job of crafting a realistic portrayal of the illness. The symptoms exhibited by Branson sometimes made the reader question what was real, but I loved that in doing so it helps the reader get further into the mind of someone suffering from a mental illness.

Some of the characters made decisions that had me mentally screaming at them, but that’s life – and it makes the characters more life-like. I loved the relationships between Tara and her children, and how her daughter seems to have a wisdom way beyond her years.

Tara went so far to protect her children, and remained loving throughout everything that happened – one can only hope to become as loving a mother as Tara.

Beyond relating to the mental illness portion, the conversations were very similar to conversations I’ve had with my own mother in the past. Billiter made it easy for the reader to step into the minds and shoes of each character narrating.

A Divided Mind was so well written that I couldn’t put it down, and finished it in one sitting. It is a book I would refer people to if they were interested in learning more about mental illness from a more personal perspective, or for people like me who want to feel understood and less alone.

I highly recommend this book, and give it five stars. I will be eagerly awaiting any potential sequel, especially if it is anywhere near as good as A Divided Mind was.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Laura.
333 reviews32 followers
May 6, 2019
ARC received in exchange for a honest review.

I have a lot of time for authors that write the book they want (need) to write and it’s clear that’s what’s happened here.

Tara is a mother of four and at the top of her profession when one of her children tells her something she didn’t see coming.

This book is a journey through mental health. The symptoms, the diagnosis, the treatment and the living with it. It depicts how it affects everyone not just the person diagnosed.

This book is told mostly from the POV of Tara and her son Branson. One of my favourite characters though was Carson, Tara’s daughter. I was honestly flipping the pages faster to see what she said next. Wise girl!

Some of the choices Tara made consciously or unconsciously, particularly professionally made me uncomfortable and her mood swings almost gave me whiplash but I understood that she was frustrated and hurting.

While I was reading this book someone on Facebook happened to ask how our current read was making us feel. I said sad and frustrated which I think sums up my feelings perfectly. I was sad that Tara, Branson and their whole family was going through this ordeal and I was frustrated that certain characters seemed to get away with things without fitting consequences. I was (and still am) sad and frustrated that the stigma surrounding mental health can prevent people from seeking help and treatment when we would for a physical illness.

The last line absolutely got me. It was almost a throw-the-kindle moment but my bestie brought it me and I need it for my next read. But woah!
Profile Image for Rachael Tamayo.
Author 14 books307 followers
May 6, 2019
If you have read my book, Crazy Love, then you might already know that I advocate for mental illness. I am pulled in my own reading towards books with a psychological twist, and in my new thrillers I weave it into the threads of the stories. I was eager to get my hands on this one, knowing the history behind it. I picked it up, not sure what to expect, but found myself drawn in and totally fascinated. This book is a page turner. A realistic account of one family’s struggles as a young man descends into mental illness. The struggle is real, and so relatable I found myself hugging my young son just a little tighter after reading it. The depth of the emotions in the mother and her son were heavy, real, and I felt them. I felt the pain and I hurt with them.

This book is an award winner that is for sure. I have never read anything that so clearly explained what it is like to fall into an illness like this, and the effects it has on those around them. Read this book. It’s a game changer.
Profile Image for Dean Petersen.
Author 2 books7 followers
September 23, 2019
What I love about Billiter's book is there isn't any down time. It's an emotional roller coaster with no brakes. I normally don't read this genre, but I was hooked by the story of a very motivated woman realizing her teenage son might not have the life she had worked hard to help him prepare for. The book seethes with the emotions of a family dealing with mental illness and I loved the heart felt moments between the siblings as well as the mother and son. I also really like the scares it offers as the mentally unstable protagonist suffers through creepy hallucinations as well as the scenes where his instability leads to violence and being pulled over by the police under very bad circumstances. Many thrillers are emotionally flat and full of stock characters who seem indifferent and unphased by the most intense of experiences, but A DIVIDED MIND brings a depth of character and emotional realism to a very intense and believable struggle.
Profile Image for Allyson Preble.
432 reviews11 followers
October 15, 2020
I was attracted to this novel first by the cover, then by the description. I don't know much about schizophrenia but I was interested enough to pick up the book. M. Billiter's writing style is honest and raw, and I found Tara's character a little unbelievable. She seemed more protective and loving towards Branson than her other children. That being said, I am not a mom, so. The contrast between Branson's character and Tara's character helped elevate the novel and made it more captivating. The schizophrenic episodes seemed totally realistic. My biggest concern going into the book was that it was going to come off as more teach-ey rather than a work of fiction, but there was only one section where it toed the line between textbook and book.

Thank you to BookSirens, M. Billiter and Tangled Tree Publishing for this digital ARC in exchange for my honest review!
Profile Image for Kade Gulluscio.
704 reviews26 followers
May 12, 2019
I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Thanks NetGalley!

"What if the only friend you have isn't real?"

High school senior Branson hears voices in his head and soon begins to realize that the one friend he has isn't real afterall.

the book has lots of twists and turns. it's told through the POV of Tara, [ bransons mom ] and Branson. This book portrays mental illness.... from the symptoms to the diagnosis to the treatment.. and i think that's extremely important. I hope this book will be helpful to other teens going through similar things.
Profile Image for Leanne.
534 reviews45 followers
May 20, 2019
I really enjoyed the majority of this book.
It's a heart wrenching tale of not only having mental illness but coping with that alongside adolescence, spousal abuse, and the stigmatised ideas of medication and treatment.
I must say though, I found Tara rather irritating. I understand to some degree her guilt but also, a lot of the time I just wanted to throat punch her. Her attitude towards some of the issues was just plain unmotherly. I really didn't take to her as a character.
And the epilogue.. Sorry but nope. I didn't get it. I didn't like it. I felt like it wasn't written forceful enough to really the point across that I think the author was making.

All in all, a good read.
Profile Image for SOMDReigel.
883 reviews
May 19, 2019
“Please. We have to fix him. There’s got to be something.”
An account of one family’s struggles as a high schooler descends into mental illness. It is told in dual POV – the son’s perspective and the mother’s perspective. Not only does the son have to come to grips with what is happening to him, but also the entire family and friends. Not only does he want his dreams and goals back, his family wants their son and brother back. A difficult subject that It is written very well with emotional honesty and understanding.
Profile Image for cheryl.
83 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2019
Having always been interested in mental health and mental illness I was really looking forward to reading this book. It was fascinating to hear the mother’s perspective as well as her son’s (the patient). And I definitely did not expect that ending! I will definitely read the sequel. I gave this book 3.5 stars rounded to 4. Many thanks to Tangled Tree Publishing and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Amy.
93 reviews34 followers
May 20, 2019
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I greatly appreciated the chance to read this book. It dives headfirst into the effects of mental illness not only to the person experiencing the disease, but looking at how the family adjusts as well.
While not quite as mysterious as anticipated from the initial teaser/synopsis, there are certainly a few surprising twists in the story that were unexpected despite expecting the anticipated imaginary friend.
Profile Image for Becky.
259 reviews4 followers
April 9, 2019
Wow! This look inside a family and their struggle with mental health gets you right in the feels. As a mom, I couldn't put this down, thinking about how my family would react.

18 year old Branson hears voices. His friend Trevor seems to get him in trouble all the time. In this psychological novel, it is hard to tell what is real and what isn't.

Definitely worth a read!
Profile Image for Ryan Hixson.
483 reviews9 followers
July 21, 2019
A Divided Mind by M. Billiter is a good emotional piece about the struggles of a family dealing with one of it's children being a schizophrenic. It's being marked as a thriller and I don't feel it fits that category, general fiction fits it better. The book does have one or two thrilling moments, but it is more of a think piece that show how an individual and his mother deal with the illness. The novel is mainly told through Branson who has schizophrenia and his mother as she deals with the diagnosis. I was not prepared for the humor in this piece, that really helps with the flow. It sometimes reminded me of a much serious version of C. D. Payne's Youth in Revolt. I enjoyed this novel and found it very engaging. I would like to think Netgalley and Hot Tree Publishing for giving me a free advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot: Tara receives a call from her 17 year-old son Branson that he's hearing voices as he blacked out and was found with bloody knuckles at school. Tara who is now a single mom thinks it is PTSD of her family surviving her first ex husband who was abusive towards her and her children. Branson is coy with telling people all the details about what he calls "shadow people" that will assassinate people he disagrees with in his mind. The voices have been getting louder and transforming. Tara sends him to a specialist that says it's not PTSD but schizophrenia. The disbelief is strong and she doesn't know how to deal, she finds a notebook of her son's journal and reads all about a girl who has tormented her son, and decides to get revenge as she's a college admissions officer for the university and creatively makes her not a candidate. Branson life gets more complex as he starts seeing a new person in his life, but are they real or not is what the reader will be asking.

What I Liked: The humor both Branson and his mom Tara have some wit to them in the form of internal thoughts. The struggle of Branson and his other personality be sometimes the only one he can confide in, but also wanting that person gone for his own health. Carson, Branson's sister, solves so much of his mother's problems, I loved her character. Dr. Cordova seems like the perfect doctor never rising to any bate of the characters but slipping out a smile when he can't contain the funny situation or answer in front of him. I loved the story about how the kids were named, and I loved their names. I loved Tara's revenge plot, and all that things that happened because of it. The cat creature was very scary and written really well and easy to visualize. I really liked the ending.

What I Disliked: The people in Branson's life our way too accepting. There's an instance where Branson steals something and a person that don't know him helps him out, I found really hard to believe. I found it to easy to tell who was real and not in Branson's mind, but the book acts like this is a mystery.

Recommendations: I will recommend this book as a good emotional sometimes humorous general fiction book. If you're looking for a thriller you will be a little disappointed, the book is not with some thrilling moments and one okay twist but in my humble opinion not a thriller. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Vivian Stevenson.
231 reviews41 followers
July 7, 2019
Thank you to Tangled Tree Publishing / Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!

This novel was not really what I was expecting. It sounded really good based on the synopsis, but the writing almost felt like young adult (minus all of the curse words).

You follow a few perspectives in this one.

Tara is a mom of four children, two of them are twin boys, Aaron and Branson. She works as a director of college admissions in Wyoming State University. You follow her and her journey through discovering what is happening to her mentally ill son, Branson. She is a caring mother, but she is also DEEPLY flawed. She makes decisions in this novel that I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with. I understand that there is no right way when it comes to parenting. She was naturally just trying her best. Her son presents himself with an illness, and her life suddenly changes. I get where she is coming from, but at the same time I didn't really connect with her.

Branson is the other perspective you follow. He is preparing for his college years, but there is a problem that may hold him back. He has been hearing voices and blacking out. The therapist originally diagnosed him with PTSD, but as you venture through the book you find out it is actually schizophrenia. The voice in his head is his imaginary friend named, Trevor.

What I did like about this book so much is that the family works with him. He doesn't become this huge outcast that no one wants to deal with. It's not completely negative, and there are little glimmers of hope throughout. I'm not going to say this is an accurate representation of schizophrenia because I have never experienced it myself. I can only tell you to read it to find out.

Do I recommend this? Maybe. It could possibly help someone figure out what's going on in their life. I don't see a lot of books about schizophrenia. This one portrays pretty raw emotion. I find it to be a little dramatic, but I basically read it all in one sitting, if that says anything about it. It is intriguing, and if you even thought about picking it up, then go for it.

Disclaimer: Do not go into this expecting a thriller.
Profile Image for Jennifer Pierson.
10.9k reviews130 followers
July 28, 2019
A Divided Mind is one of those books that is really hard to review, yet, stays in your head long after you finish it. It's the story of a boy named Branson, who started displaying symptoms of mental illness that manifested itself into an imaginary friend. It's told from his, and his mother Tara's POV. Tara is a single mom who would do anything for her kids, and she does her very best with Branson, but they were put through the ringer for real. And that's all that I really want to say about the description to be honest, because it's just better to go in blind. I do believe that my favorite thing about this story was the realism displayed in the pages, as me as the reader, could tell that it was written by someone who went through it themselves. M. Billiter made it so realistic, it didn't take long before I wasn't reading anymore, but experiencing it along with the family. Yeah, some of the decisions made had me yelling at my kindle, but again, it speaks of the realistic tone, as no one knows how they would react in this situation, so as humans, we make mistakes on the way to a resolution. This story will long be on my heart even after more books are read, as it's just that type of book that gets under the skin. Not to mention, I applaud the author for tackling a subject that's so important these days! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
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