Challenge criteria: A book set on an island (Ireland is an island, sit down.)
(Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion of the book, nor the outcome of the review.)
The story follows Annabel, a recently deceased anorexic teen who finds herself (unwillingly) assigned as a ghostly ‘helper’ to Julia, another girl with a difficult relationship with food.
What I liked:
This book was incredibly relatable, because every one of us has an Annabel inside us. Telling us we’re fat, ugly, everything we’ve ever doubted about ourselves.
Having Annabel as an omniscient narrator though was fantastic. It really pushed the story along to hear what every character was really thinking, as she was the only one who could truly get inside their heads.
It also featured a plot about student journalism, and the newspaper touching on quite a serious topic. It was obvious their inspiration for the article, but it was great to see it being tackled in a very realistic way. And yes, a career in journalism really IS what it’s shown in the book.
There is still a stigma around mental health and suicide, and this book showed that fantastically. It also showed pretty well how stress, overwork, exhaustion can really get to you.
Also, my surname appeared, which was pretty cool, especially having seen my first name in another book I’ve read recently. I’ve gone full circle.
What I didn’t like:
Contrary to what I said before, the way suicide, and the reaction to such, is shown in this book is a very real and very scary mirror image of what people’s real life attitudes to mental health issues are like. And that in itself is bloody depressing.
The storyline of Dermot and Julia unnerved me so much that if planes had windows I would have thrown the book out of one.
With all the internal monologues, it was often hard to keep up and remember who was actually speaking (or thinking) at any given moment.
As with many YA books, there was a romance pop up, but I didn’t feel it should have happened. It wasn’t the right time for either party, and it’s clear they both had other things to concentrate on before starting a relationship. What’s it your friends always say – “you need to love yourself before you love someone else”? Well that crap is so true here.
AGAIN with the short chapters.
Out of five?:
Four. It’s a harrowing book, and definitely one that needs to be read and discussed, but sometimes the sheer volume of voices can feel like standing in a crowded room.