Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

I picked up Words on Bathroom Walls fresh off of the devastating DNF that was Made You Up, by Francesca Zappia I had just finished Eliza and Her Monsters, which is a beautiful masterpiece of literary fiction, and I had such high hopes for Zappia’s first book. I was disappointed to discover that Zappia had not really researched schizophrenia at all. This all to say, going into Words, my expectations were not high.

I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Walton’s first book is a treasure, and it’s everything I wanted Made You Up to be. Main character Adam is schizophrenic. He’s received the go ahead to start a new clinical trial for a drug that will help him to manage his symptoms in conjunction with weekly visits to a therapist that he’s not willing to talk to. Rather than talk, Adam writes detailed journal entries that are letters to this therapist, both describing his journey within schizophrenia and answer any questions that come up within sessions when he doesn’t see the point of talking out loud. Adam leans heavily on the new drug, hoping that it will allow him to live a “normal” life, go to school, have a girlfriend–and that no one will ever know about his schizophrenia.

What I love most about this book is that it’s not pretty. It doesn’t wrap up with a pretty bow that says “schizophrenia is easy to handle.” Staying spoiler free, nothing outside of the Goodreads summary on the book’s main page, but not every medication works for every patient. I love how believable Adam is, how we get to watch his struggle, in his own words, as he adjusts to the med and all of the ups and downs that come with his hallucinations. Some days are good; some days are bad–and that’s the true story about mental illness.

The side characters in Words are also incredibly well crafted. Maya is top notch, as is the therapist–but the truly masterful thing is how we see them through Adam’s eyes in his journal entries. Walton creates entire characters through Adam, and it’s beautiful.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about schizophrenia in an easy to digest way. I commend Walton for the clear effort that she put into researching this book, and for the way that it doesn’t seem like any work for her at all. I would recommend this book to people with mental illness, if for nothing else than to show that there are people out there who 100 percent care about portraying it right. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves books. Just don’t expect a book that’s all flowers and rainbows all the time, because that’s not what Walton was going for. However, even in the darkest parts of the book there is still light.

Five stars.

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flawed

Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed reminds me of many of the other young adult novels I’ve read as of late. We have our female protagonist, Celestine, who has a perfect life with perfect grades and a perfect boyfriend and a seemingly perfect family. The people in society are branded with an F for “flawed” if they do something wrong or make a poor decision; these people are not allowed to lives the same lives as the non-flawed and are forced to exist under a completely different set of rules. In true young adult dystopian form, Celestine recognizes the insanity of this society, stands up against it, and gets punished for that rebellion. This punishment leads her to a situation where she is forced to choose between two suitors in her life—the typical good boy and bad boy scenario. There is a definite formula to this first book of the series, and it is followed to the letter. You might be thinking now, “Okay, so then why do I want to read this?” Answer? There’s just something about this book.

Ahren’s prose is spot on. The writing is smooth and engrossing, and I never found myself annoyed or lost. The pacing is perfectly laid out and kept me flipping the pages; Flawed never dragged, and I didn’t want to put it down. World building is worked into the story in a way that is shown and not told. I’m really a fan of this sort of build, as a lot of times society setup can turn into one giant info dump. The characters are well constructed as well, albeit slightly predictable. Most characters get a narrative arc of some sort and display growth over the course of the story. Celestine goes from rule follower to logical savior. Her sister Juniper goes from being sassy and not totally authentic in her actions to being very real and gaining a more solid backbone. Even Colleen, a side character, gets a nice little growth arc where she learns about expressing anger.

I found myself wanting to know more about Carrick, as he was intriguing but relegated to a back burner position for most of the novel. I assume his character will play a strong role in the sequel—at least I hope so!!! The only character in this I really didn’t care for was Celestine’s boyfriend, Art. He doesn’t really grow or change at all over the course of the narrative, remaining very fixed and rigid despite many opportunities to grow and change with those surrounding him.

The assessment of this as being a Divergent and Scarlett Letter hybrid is pretty accurate. While nothing unique, Ahren’s prose makes this worth a grab.

Four stars.

**I received Flawed by Cecelia Ahern as an ARC from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Flawed is expected for publication on April 5th, 2016 by Feiwel and Friends.