Title: Optimists Die First
Author: Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s/ Andersen
Publication Date: 02 Mar 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mental Illness
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she'd kept an eye on her sister, if only she'd sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only...
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula's ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange with an honest review.
Want to start by saying how much the cat references made me laugh hysterically while reading this book. The author even dedicated this book to all of the people who are like me.
" To all the other crazy cat people. You know who you are."
Reading the title of this book, and this part of the blurb " ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats." made me so excited to read this book.
The start and end were absolute perfection; I just felt a little bit bored in the middle of the book. I also wished that somethings were a bit more descriptive, than they actually were.
We meet Petula, who is more that just a pessimistic person. She is also struggling with anxiety. This was portrayed perfectly, that even those who believe that people with anxiety are over-reacters, would get to see the illness itself. Everything Petula does and believes may seem extreme at first, but all of that is 105% justified.
I really do need to take a moment and applaud Susin because of what she has accomplished with this book. She was able to send a loud, clear message to shatter the ignorance of the disbelievers, without them even realizing that.
I really want to read more books by Susin Nielsen. I absolutely loved Optimists Die first.
I give it 4/5 stars.
About the Author:
Susin got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards, as did her second novel, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, was published in August 2012. It went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, and a number of Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Author Wally Lamb named it his top YA pick for 2012 in his “First Annual Wally Awards,” and recently Rolling Stone magazine put it at #27 in their list of “Top 40 Best YA Novels.”
Her books have been translated into multiple languages. Susin’s new novel, We Are All Made of Molecules, will be published in Canada, the US and the UK in Spring of 2015. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two naughty cats. She is delighted to have finally figure out how to "claim" her author profile on Goodreads!
Title: The Infinity of You & Me
Author: J.Q. Coyle
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Genre: Fantasy,Fiction, YA
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?
Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange with an honest review.
A Great concept, with beautiful lines that are 101% quotable.
I absolutely loved the idea behind this book. Alicia is misdiagnosed with many mental illnesses, where she tends hallucinate a lot. Her hallucinations keep her jumping from one world to the next, each of which has a different versions of the main characters.
I want to talk about one of the main characters, Hafiz, who is actually Alicia's best friend. I was really happy to see a Muslim character with an Arabic name in the book, yet I was disappointed. The only scene present in this book was when he was bullied in school and called a terrorist. Now, I am glad to see that author is trying to fight the wrong Stigma that is always thrown at muslims, but that was the only scene that showed me that Hafiz is a muslim.
I am really disappointed because this scene is always present whenever a secondary main muslim character is introduced in a book. I believe that it makes people think of terrorism whenever they hear the words: Muslim/Islam.
I also didn't like how certain things were explained in this book. I have already talked to the author privately about it, and it is a thing that not everyone would sense while reading it. She listened and acknowledged what I had to say, which was great. But I hope that in the future, books with diverse characters would be beta read by at least 5 beta readers who are a part of that diverse characterization.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It will take you places that you will be thrilled to see. I will definitely pick up more books written by J.Q. Coyle.
I give it 3.5/5 stars.
About the Author
Growing up, J.Q. COYLE was a fan of stories. But more than that, a fan of possibilities. So, it only seemed only natural to write a story in which the possibilities are limitless.
Hey guys. My name is Louise Gornall, and I’m the author of Under Rose-Tainted Skies, a YA contemporary featuring a girl battling with OCD and Agoraphobia. Ayah asked me over today to share with you my top 5 ways to tell people you have a mental illness. This is a tricky one. See, we’re all so different. In 10+ years of suffering with my own mental health, I’ve yet to find two cases that are the same. That’s to say, these top 5 aren't set in stone. They aren't gospel, but rather snippets of advice, because only you know how best to handle this.
1) This is a big battle. Please consider trying not to fight it alone. A huge ask, I know. And it’s scary to put yourself out there, with all your vulnerabilities on show. I compare it to being naked in public. There is no real way around this feeling. It just is. Which sucks, but you can lessen the blow. Talk to doctors, medical professionals, people you’re not striving for acceptance from or emotionally tied to, first. These people aren't going to judge you. They see mental health, more than a badly behaved mind would ever allow you to believe. Eventually, these people will help you to get to a point where you feel confident enough to confide in a parent, a guardian, or a friend.
2) You’re not alone. As isolated as you feel, there are people out there who know what you’re going through and want to help. Mental illness is a master at making you feel alone. This isn't true. There are communities all over the Internet, people waiting on the end of phone lines to tell you why this battle is worth fighting. Get in touch with them. There is a sort of strength that comes from community. You need someone in your corner who knows what it feels like to fall, but doesn't hesitate to pick you back up, dust off your knees without question, and tells you it’s okay.
3) You are not as crazy as you imagine. I used to think that I couldn't tell anyone about the really weird things my brain made me believe. In the book, Norah talks about black bits in her food and how they affect her eating. This came straight from my own quirky archives. I honestly thought this was one of the most pathetic fears in the world. It got so bad I would rather starve than eat something with flecks of black in it. I lost weight, lost my period, lost perspective, but when I finally found the strength to tell my therapist, she told me she’d seen this fear before.
4) This is a process. Unfortunately, telling someone about your mental health isn't going to make you better overnight. I know. I wish it did too. But it’s okay. If Lord of the Rings taught us anything, it’s that battles are long, but long doesn't equal lost. Your brain has learnt behaviours, has programmed itself to react a certain way when a certain situation arises. Think of tying your shoelaces. Now consider trying to unlearn that. The trick here is to manage your thought process. Reprogramme it to find a better way of thinking. It’s not easy, and it takes time, but it will be worth it.
5) You will most likely lose people along the way. This was the hardest lesson I learnt, and it took me the longest time to make peace with. Some people are just not equipped to deal with all the things that you’ve got going on. That’s their problem, their character flaw. Not yours. Now, I’m not going to tell you to cut people loose, but I am going to tell you that trying to make people understand and accept you is a waste of your time and an unnecessary blow to your already strained emotions. You are more than your mental health, and if people can't see that, they’re not worth your time or your effort. Those who love you know who you are, and they want to help with, not hinder, your recovery.
About the Author:
My name is Louise, and I write YA books. Sometimes contemp, sometimes horror, sometimes thriller. My debut YA contemp, Under Rose-Tainted Skies, will be published by HMH/Clarion (US), and Chicken House/Scholastic (UK) in the fall 2016/17.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies is about this chick, Norah, who suffers from agoraphobia, OCD and depression. Her life is one long blur of cheese sandwiches and trash tv, until she meets the new boy next door, Luke, and he starts to challenge her way of thinking.
I’m represented by the amazing Mandy Hubbard of Emerald City Literary.
Title: hello me, it's you
Author: Anonymous , Hannah Todd ( editor)
Publisher: hello me, it's you
Publication Date: October 10th, 2016
Genre: Nonfiction, Mental Health,Mental Illness
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
“Keep smiling and being you. Don’t let the world change you”
Hello Me, it’s You is a collection of letters by young adults aged 17-24 about their experiences with mental health issues. The letters are written to their 16-year-old selves, giving beautifully honest advice, insight and encouragement for all that lays ahead of them.
This book was produced by the Hello Me, it’s You charity, set up by the editor, Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with depression and anxiety whilst at university and found comfort in talking to friends about their experiences, realising she was not alone in her situation. This inspired the idea for the charity and book. Through the creation of materials such as this, the charity aims to provide reassurance for young adults (and their families) who are experiencing mental health issues and give a voice to young adults on such an important topic. The result of that will hopefully be a reduction in the negative stigma surrounding mental health and an increase in awareness of young people’s experiences. All profits go the Hello Me, it’s You charity, for the production of future supportive books.
Trigger warning: Due to it’s nature, the content of this book may be triggering. Contains personal experiences of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, trichotillomania and other mental health issues, as well as issues such as assault.
.............." Life is nothing but a Reckless Adventure!"...............
Hello me, it's you.
You have finished reading one of the best books ever. It is not a novel, but trust me when I say this, it is a piece of writing that this world desperately needed. I know that you have read a lot of great books, some that didn't shy away from serious topics like Mental Illness . But this ? This is a book that your soul is going to devoir instantly .It is a safe haven to seek, a strong message of ( YOU ARE NOT ALONE ).
This book will make you cry, nod in agreement , and connect with people who explain how you've felt when you were dancing on the line that separates light and dark. You are going to feel the urge to highlight every single page in that book; just do it.
Don't feel ashamed of writing a book review that could show why you loved this book so much. Never be ashamed of whatever illness you have; never be ashamed of telling people about it. I am still figuring out who to always practice that last sentence, but I will figure it out. We will figure it out . Share this on your Facebook , send it to any organization that care about this subject. You never know, perhaps your darkest confession, is someone else's salvation.
Please go back and reread what you have highlighted , and keep the anonymous authors and Hannah Todd in your prayers . They are amazing brave knights, trying to walk through the darkness that exist even in the light.
Never Stop Loving yourself,
your 22 years old self.
Hello Me, it's You is a non-profit project aimed at raising awareness for mental health issues among Young Adults. It aims to break down negative stigma surrounding mental health issues, and to normalise it for young people and their families.
As a result we've collected anonymous letters by young adults about their experiences with mental health issues, and given them a platform for their experiences.