Monday, 30 January 2017

Review: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

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.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Poppy

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!  The expected publication date is February 7th, 2017.

I admit that I have a fascination with stories that center around mental illness.  Although it has not directly impacted me, it has impacted many people I know in many different shapes and forms and is an important topic to keep an awareness of.  Too often mental illness is dismissed or left with a stigma that it should not have.

Being a teenager is difficult enough without the added stress of managing a bipolar disorder and on top of that keeping it a secret from everyone.  This is where the story of Mel begins.  From the beginning the reader (or I did anyway) has questions such as what happened to her brother?  Why does Mel have a new set of friends, what happened to the old ones?  These questions are answered over time as Mel continues to manage her disorder.

A good lesson is given throughout this story.  Even those who are hyper aware of their disorder and managing it to the best of their capabilities can have everything unravel.  With this, secrets can be exposed and people can be left vulnerable.

Written in a style that the YA audience can appreciate, this story encompasses everything that is relevant to a teenager, and then adds on to it.  The romance aspect of this book was well written and I particularly enjoyed the banter that occurred between the characters. The highlight for me was the dynamic in all of Mel's relationships and how they evolved throughout the story.  I may sound a little vague however I do not want to run the risk of giving away any spoilers.

This was a well written YA story about bipolar disorder.  I foresee it being a popular choice for the YA demographic for 2017.

About the Author

In addition to writing Young Adult novels, Eric Lindstrom has worked in the interactive entertainment industry for years as a creative director, game designer, writer, and usually combinations of all three. As Editor and Co-Writer for Tomb Raider: Legend he received a 2006 BAFTA nomination for Best Video Game Screenplay, and then as the Creative Director for Tomb Raider: Underworld he received a 2009 BAFTA nomination for Best Action Adventure Video Game and a 2009 WGA nomination for Best Writing in a Video Game.

He has also raised children, which led to becoming first a school volunteer, then a substitute teacher, then a part time kindergarten teacher, then getting a credential to teach elementary school, and most importantly the discovery that YA literature is awesome. It’s pretty much all he ever reads, and now writes, in his house near the beach on the west coast, with his wife and, yes, cats.

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