I would name this book the YA LGBT version of Wolf in White Van. It’s the same premise where we read to find out why he attempted suicide, and go through the journey of past and present to see what happens.
This is also the very first ebook where I actually highlighted something. There were so many fantastic parts it was like an orgasm for the mind. Here’s one I saved:
“I can’t watch the news anymore or look at the papers. It’s like whoever sites up there in Heaven has this big bag of really crappy stuff, and once or twice a day she or he reaches in and sprinkles a little bit of it over the world and it makes everything go crazy, like fairy dust that’s past its expiration date.”
See what I mean? How does one even come up with that? And there are many, many more that are just as mind blowing.
Not only was the writing on point, it was also scarily appropriate for the 15 year old narrator. From the inner thoughts to the dialogue, I never once thought the main character wasn’t a teenager, and I know how hard it can be for an adult writer.
The story itself was both interesting and compelling. I was invested in pretty much everyone, main and supporting, from the start. But I may be a bit biased, as I have also spent a week in a mental facility for suicide when I was sixteen. I have also met the ‘others’ I thought were way crazier than me and I can write a whole book about my experience. This book mirrored a lot of it, and it brought up a lot of feelings I’ve forced myself to forget. So take it from someone who’s been there – this book was either very well researched, or lived (by someone).
As much as I enjoyed reading it, though, there was one big issue that made me disappointed. As we go through the book, we learn things about the main character and his denial of why he tried to kill himself. That’s all fine and dandy, until we actually find out why. Now, I don’t think the following is a spoiler since the book is labeled LGBT and the blurb states he’s ‘coming to terms with his sexuality’, but you’ve been warned anyway.
The description automatically makes you think that him being gay is the reason. And it is, obviously, but the weird thing is that he knows he’s gay. Throughout the book, he’s lost and confused about it, and then out of nowhere he goes ‘by the way, I’m gay, I knew that before I got here’. And I’m left going well, if you knew, what was the point of the book? Because I thought it was acceptance. Except he’d already accepted it. I’m confused. Anyway, I feel like his feelings on it could have been relayed a lot better in the ‘big reveal’ to make it all pull together instead of alienating the reader and making us feel like we’ve been lied to. Anyway, if you just make up a justification for that or ignore it, the rest of the book is great.
Actually, besides that one small thing, the whole entire book is great. I enjoyed reading it start to finish and I would recommend it if you’re interested in reading about gay teens and mental hospitals.