Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're joining a blog tour already in progress from the folks at Random House Children's Books starring a recent Young Adult release that has bite. How so? Well, it's a work of Fiction and yet it's so vivid, so there in your face about issues that many work so hard to keep hidden under the rug, you can't help but wish the characters WERE real in order to interact with them, call them friend, and let them know it will be okay. If I've caught your attention, good...I've done my "job" and now I'll be ushering you into my experience between the pages as we review today's book of choice...
About the book...
Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.
Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.
And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.
The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it.
This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment.
It's a story about the stigma of mental disorders and just how caustic that can be to those that suffer from them...and yet, at the same time, not. Yes, it's about several disorders, our leading lady's specifically being the bipolar variety, and the various treatments used to help those afflicted manage the symptoms of them on a day to day basis. We get to see the cocktails of meds they are put on, the journals they are told to keep, the quick dial numbers to save in case of a downshift in their day, and even the more "out there" treatments that scare the heebee geebees out of your average Tom, Dick, or Harry, removed from the situation, let alone the one that would experience it. The real scope of the story though isn't about the potentially off workings of the mind, but about those souls baring these crosses and the lives they lead.
It's a story about regular teens like you or I (use to be) that are going through growing pains, friendship changes, talent discoveries, weakness revelations, popularity contests, and oh yeah, a nice dose of mental instability on the side. Sounds like a good time, right? Yeah, not so much...but it's important to know that while it plays a big part in their lives, it's not WHO THEY ARE. It doesn't completely define them, something the group therapy is amazeballs at pointing out. Everyone has something they are dealing with, and as small as it might seem to you or I, it's monumental to the person going through it. These kids just have the "luxury" of putting a label on it. It's our job to not make that label amount to more than a mole hill. We need to see it, remember it, and then put it to the back of our minds because once again, it's not the person...it's the ailment. It's something that with the right structure or game plan can be managed, so much so that it becomes a habit rather than a hindrance, and allows us to form all those amazing bonds, and create those far out stories that we'll share in our old age.
It's a story about one young lady who sees her life through a focused lens due to circumstances beyond her control, but who also needs to be opened to the world around her to see that pain does end, grieving is good for the soul, and there are those that care even when all seems lost. Reaching out can be hard and reading Catherine's story, fictitious or not, was just as, but it also shines a light on the fact that these are real issues. People deal with this every day of their lives, young and old. Does that mean they should be shunned or cast aside, unable to enjoy the simple pleasures in life of love, friendship, and acceptance? That's a big fat NO. It means that we should take time everyday to be certain our own heads aren't too full of ourselves and that we extend a kind word/hand to others. You never know what your next interaction will trigger, or how you may touch someone's heart just when they need it.
Recommended read for teens and beyond. Little warning...there is some language, and frank conversations about what this fab group of teens is going through, so younger readers of the genre may want to be cautioned.
About the author...
Karen Fortunati is a former attorney who attends graduate school at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and works part-time as a museum educator. She lives in Connecticut with her family and rescue dogs.
Special thanks to Allison at Random House Children's Books for the ARC for review and the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title hit bookstore and virtual shelves just last month, via Delacorte Press, so be on the lookout for it at your favorite retailers.
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!