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 16-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 conceal her diagnosis by keeping everyone at arm's length. But 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 no one will accept her if they discover what she's been hiding. But would her friends really abandon her if they learned the truth? More importantly, 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.
©2017 Eric Lindstrom (P)2017 Hachette Audio
"The portrayal of Mel's bipolar disorder is nuanced and reads true to life. Her fear of rejection will be familiar to teenagers, whether they're acquainted with mental illness or not, making it an important gateway to self-acceptance and understanding of others. An intimate and affecting portrait of mental illness helmed by an achingly real protagonist." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Lindstrom's compelling novel is rich in clinical detail, which is nicely integrated into the plot, ensuring the novel is never didactic but always dramatic.... Readers will find Mel's story always absorbing and gain insight into her troubling disorder. Those who enjoy this fine novel will also enjoy Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places (2015)." (Booklist)
"An engaging and fast-moving plot that foregrounds Mel as a person who maintains a strong ethic of kindness even and especially when [she's] down, making her a bipolar poster child fully worthy of reader sympathy." (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)
I read this author's first book, "Not if I see you First", last year and loved his ability to get inside the heads and hearts of his characters.
|A Tragic Kind of Wonderful" is a compulsively readable book, with a protagonist who lives with bipolar disorder. Several of my friends also live with it, and while I know it manifests itself in different ways, Lindstrom's character shows what it's like in a way I've never been able to fully understand before reading it.
The one drawback I found to this story was that it's almost always written in present-tense, even when the events are in the past. As a result, the first couple of chapters are confusing and disorienting.
But overall, this is a strong performance of a strong book about friendship, loyalty, forgiveness, and mental illness.
Well worth your time and credit.
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