*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Title: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
What I really loved about this book is that it opens the door to conversation about mental illness. So many people, teens and adults alike, struggle with mental illness every day, but it is not something people find easy to talk about. Although in recent years, people have begun to open up and talk more and more about mental illness, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding it. This story follows Mel as she tries to cope with her mental illness. She is working to find out what works best for her and she’s trying to understand herself and her mood in any way she can. Much of the book contained her journal entries which I felt really brought this book to life. It turned Mel into a real girl that readers, teen readers especially, would find accessible and relate-able. I think this story is a real eye opener and will be a great conversation starter for readers of all ages.
This story is very honest and doesn’t try to hide or gloss over Mel’s struggle. It portrays her difficulty in her real life, keeping her bipolar disorder secret and trying to appear as a “normal” teen, while trying to deal with her struggle in her home life. The novel addresses themes such as coming-of-age, friendship, romance, family, and so much more. I thought the story progressed well and the timeline seemed to unfold at a reasonable rate, making it even more believable. As someone who has dealt with anxiety, I really connected with Mel. I understood where she was coming from and how she gets to where she is at the end (no spoilies. You’ll have to read it for yourself :D).
I found that all of the characters in this book are really unique and each has a great sense of individuality. What I mean is, sometimes characters all seem to sound the same, but each one of Lindstrom’s are convincing as their own person. They have interesting traits and I feel like most characters experience growth throughout the novel, learning from their mistakes and adapting as the plot unfolds, and not always in good ways (making them even more realistic).
Definitely recommend! I’m a fan of Eric Lindstrom after reading both of his books, and I hope you’ll enjoy his writing as much as I did.