Publication: February 7th 2017
Publisher: Little Brown BYR
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Mental Health
Format: ARC Source: NOVL for review
My Rating: 4 Stars
In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.
As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?
In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.
I knew from reading the synopsis that I would love this book. I always connect with stories that are centered around mental illness, and A Tragic Kind of Wonderful easily finds a place among my favorites. I can relate to Mel so much, and it was kind of scary to be inside her head. Trust me, anyone can sympathize with people who suffer from some type of mental illness, but when you are actually one of those mentally ill people, you can understand a whole lot more. I was as equally nervous as Mel was about letting her guard down and telling her new friends about her illness.
While this book is part focused on Mel’s illness, it is respectively centered on the relationships that Mel has with her parents and friends (young and elderly), but also Mel’s past. Not only does Mel have to live with her bipolar disorder, she hasn’t gotten over her brother’s death. There are flashbacks that really move the plot forward and you get to know why Mel is so fearful of “outing” herself.
This book is a pretty fast read, for such a complex story. I love the way the author delivered it, without letting all the different characters grab hold of the story. I think someone looking for a quick, engaging read, will find a great story about a girl with bipolar disorder trying to keep her life as drama free as possible in A Tragic Kind of Wonderful. I haven’t read this author’s debut, Not If I See You First, but I think it will find its way into my Amazon cart soon.
If you enjoyed the following books, then I’m sure this is one you want to add to your list.
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella