Title: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: The NOVL
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.
Unfortunately, this book fell a little flat for me. I enjoyed Lindstrom's debut, and I was looking forward to this one, but it just...wasn't very memorable. Even trying to review this a short time after reading, I can't remember much that stood out to me, I'm sorry to say.
Writing: The writing this time around was not page-turning. While I did fly through it, it was more because the book was short and simple to read. The prose wasn't very lyrical or attention-grabbing. It was, however, easy to follow and get into the flow of the story.
Characters: Unfortunately, the characters pretty much all fell flat for me. I would have loved to see Mel more fleshed-out and complex. I think her friends, as well as her mom and aunt, were great additions to the story, but the were two-dimensional and just...there. These characters could have been so much more, and brought so much to the story. I couldn't bring myself to be interested in the drama of what happened between Mel and her ex-friends. While I did like David, the love interest, he too fell flat. I didn't get any swoony vibes from him, and the relationship between him and Mel felt forced and off.
Plot: The story starts off very slow. I didn't think it was too hard to get into, because the story is easy to follow and easy to read. But I felt the ending was too rushed, trying to fit in too many things and tie up too many loose ends at once. I think the part that interested me most was Nolan, her brother, and the story surrounding him, but we don't get much of that. The story is more about friendship and her bipolar disorder, than it is about the romance (which I always appreciate).
Depiction of Mental Illness: Mel has bipolar disorder. While I can't talk to the accuracy of the rep (if you know of any #ownvoices reviews, link 'em my way), I do think it is so important to have this rep (if it's done well, which I think it was). Mel is on meds, and goes to therapy, and I think it is so important for kids to see this and realize it's okay. Mel also has a few different coping methods we see throughout the book, and I think it was good that we got to see those as well.
The book was light and enjoyable while reading it, although not very memorable after the fact. While it had potential, and I was so hoping to love it, it ultimately fell a little flat. I appreciated the representation, but truthfully there wasn't really much else going for it.
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