This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.
Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.
Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.
Quick Reasons: life changer; this tackles some important, heavy subjects…and does so with sensitivity and tact; don’t expect a miracle cure, penguins; this paints mental health in a realistic, complex, true-to-life way; these characters are just…GAH
Huge thanks to Whitney Taylor, HMH Books for Young Readers, and Netgalley for providing me with early access to a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.
I’m going to be honest, penguins. This book is messy. The characters are struggling with some very heavy burdens…and Whitney Taylor doesn’t once mince her words, or sugar-coat the emotions. From page one, you will be taken on a whirlwind ride of snark, angst, and depression. There is no miracle cure waiting at the end–even at the end, these characters are hurting, and they know it. They acknowledge their invisible struggles in every word, in every action, in every single moment–and you’ll be forced to step outside yourself and live their pain with every flip of the page. This book does not offer an easy solution, a cure, or an answer–because honestly, in reality, there isn’t always one.
This is, instead, a small glimpse into the ways depression wreaks havoc on an individual–and their loved ones. Whitney Taylor took a very heavy subject and approached it with sensitivity and tact. The characters are realistic and beautiful and flawed and struggling–and I so, so appreciated that in this read. While this was a difficult journey for me, as it forced me to step outside myself and back into a darker state of mind… I also appreciated the way Whitney Taylor approached this journey. I also ADORED how much snark and angst followed these characters throughout the read–their interactions with and reactions to each other/the world were undeniably some of my favorite moments.
While there is a bit of a love triangle and there are some pretty lofty mistakes made…this book is unarguably REAL. The morals imparted? The messages explored and spelled out? Only helped to cement this in my mind as one of the best, most emotionally-challenging reads of the year so far. This is the sort of book that makes readers think, and leaves them changed–I know, for sure, that it’s changed me.
I just… this book is important, penguins. Whitney Taylor handled this journey with tact and sensitivity. The characters are snarky, adorable…and battling some dark demons. There is no miracle cure waiting at the end–and I adored that about this, because it’s so realistic and true-to-life. I’d recommend this to lovers of contemporaries with heavy subjects, honest implications, and journeys bound to change you. If you had to define indefinable things, what would be on YOUR list?