Tag Archives: mental illness

Connectedness

30 Apr

Many years ago, when I was in college, my now brother-in-law introduced me to a friend of his who had spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. Tom told me his friend thought he’d become invisible,  which sort of made me laugh. When his friend explained it to me, it wasn’t funny at all. I remember to this day that he felt that the lines connecting him to other people were getting so long he couldn’t be seen. It is an image that has stuck with me.

In Shaun David Hutchinson’s At The Edge of The Universe, the protagonist has a similar, though opposite problem. Everyone and everything else is disappearing and he is feeling more and more isolated.

51Z+FdgUUzL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Publisher’s Summary: From the author of We Are the Ants and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes the heartbreaking story of a boy who believes the universe is slowly shrinking as things he remembers are being erased from others’ memories.

Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since the second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon he suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy—that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as it takes to get his boyfriend back.

This is another excellent YA novel dealing with mental illness, and it brings with it the hope for treatment and recovery.

 

Complicated story threads

8 Jul

I saved the 529-page Whisper to Me by Nick Lake for my 5-hour return flight home.

Unknown

Goodreads Summary: Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all.

As I started reading the book, I was worried I wasn’t going to like it. The writing style felt sort of stream of consciousness and there were no chapter breaks. But as I got into it, I realized it wasn’t the sort of book I feared it was going to be (a paranormal romance) and it was in fact a bit of a mystery, but mostly it was about a girl dealing with a mental illness. That seemed to make more of what I’d expect from Nick Lake. I can’t say I loved Cassie, though I certainly felt empathy for her. And I don’t really understand her attraction to the nameless boy to whom she is writing. But love is a strange thing and I guess the romance in this story is about as believable as anything else in YA lit.

What I especially liked was the realistic ending (every thread isn’t neatly tied up) and the slow revelation of Cassie, her illness and what might have led her to it.  Did I love this book? No. But I wish I’d read it on my way to Canada because I’d have left it for my sister. It’s just a little too old to add to my classroom library.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #3

15 Feb

It’s been a slow reading week. I worked two twelve-hour days for conferences then had a day off in which I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate t read. The only book I read, though not quite finished yet, is  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B  by Teresa Toten.

Unknown

My sister sent me this book last year and I’d not yet gotten around to reading it. I can see why it won a Schneider Family Book  Award that recognizes a book “that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

One of the things I really enjoy about the book is the narrative voice. I keep thinking it is narrated in the first person because the details about Adam’s thinking are so precise, but it actually has third person omniscient narration. This could be something that annoyed me, but Toten really got it right.I wonder if she and her editor considered writing in the first person. I’d like to ask her that question.

Publisher’s Summary: Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, this understated and wise novel explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness and healing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park and All the Bright Places.

ADAM’S GOALS:
Grow immediately.
Find courage.
Keep courage.
Get normal.
Marry Robyn Plummer.

The instant Adam Spencer Ross meets Robyn Plummer in his Young Adult OCD Support Group, he is hopelessly, desperately drawn to her. Robyn has a hypnotic voice, blue eyes the shade of an angry sky, and ravishing beauty that makes Adam’s insides ache. She’s also just been released from a residential psychiatric program—the kind for the worst, most difficult-to-cure cases; the kind that Adam and his fellow support group members will do anything to avoid joining.

Adam immediately knows that he has to save Robyn, must save Robyn, or die trying. But is it really Robyn who needs rescuing? And is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?

2016 HUB Reading Challenge Check-in #2

7 Feb

the-hub-2016-reading-challenge-768x768

I had a  busy book week. I had to finish reading two of the Cybils NF finalists to be prepared for our decision-making discussion yesterday. We had a wonderfully robust discussion. It took three hours for us to whittle down to a winner, which will be announced on Saturday, February 14th.

All this is to explain why I only almost finished one book for the HUB challenge this week. I am about 2/3 of the way through Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.

Unknown

I will admit, I had a little trouble getting into it, until I realized what was going on. Suddenly, I realized why it won the National Book Award and has gained so many other accolades.  Here is Neal Shusterman’s NBA Acceptance speech.

Publisher’s Summary: Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

When I was reading for the Morris Award, we saw a lot of books about teen mental illness and often discussed how hard and how rarely they give an honest picture of what it is like to have a mental illness. But Challenger Deep  does. It is not an easy read, but the short, meaningful chapters pull you deeper and deeper into the story.

I highly recommend it and I think a lot of adults would enjoy it as well as teens.

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

%d bloggers like this: