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reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

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mental health

when being healthy is hard

I’ve been reading initial reviews/ opinions of Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Some people think it’s a great representation of being fat:

Others think it’s not:

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schizophrenia in Made You Up

Spoilers ahead My review mentions some of the problematic aspects without spoilers.

“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter? You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

There’s so little YA featuring schizophrenia I was excited to read Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (Greenwillow Books, 2015). It’s garnered lots of love since its publication last year including shortlisting for the Inky Award 2016. I found misunderstanding of schizophrenia and psychiatric care and use of the sensational aspects we see so often in books and media. Zappia does a disservice to real people and their real problems and fears caused by their schizophrenia.

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made you up

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (Greenwillow Books, 2015) is longlisted for the Inky Award 2016. Will it make the shortlist tomorrow?

Only #24hours to wait! Announcing #inkyawards Short Lists tomoz at #highnoon #yafiction #teenreads #yareads

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There are inaccuracies with the depiction of schizophrenia and psychiatric care which I elaborate here. Problems aside, Made You Up allows readers to experience what a person with schizophrenia does – not knowing what’s real or not.

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life in poetry

“She thought she was running toward home, but she was mistaken. She ran until she was dead tired.”

It’s been too long since I read a verse novel. Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann (Greenwillow Books, 2016) reminded me of my love for them. As lyrical as it is heart-breaking, everything I could ask for in radiant words.

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the protected

“She would be pissed off about me invading her space, I’m sure. But she is gone, completely and utterly not here.”

The Protected by Claire Zorn (UQP, 2014) won last year’s CBCA Book of The Year Older Readers and was shortlisted for the 2015 Inky Award and 2016 WA Premier’s Book Awards. I only just read it because I disliked her first book The Sky So Heavy and never finished it. I’m glad I realised my mistake and tried Claire Zorn again.

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When We Collided

I started reading When We Collided by Emery Lord (Bloomsbury, 2016) thinking, how could I like a book that seems to be the sad little sister of I’ll Give You the Sun, has a protagonist named after my grandma, who’s throwing her meds in the sea instead of her  mouth. Vivi and Jonah had much to teach me about making assumptions (will I ever learn??)

Vivi is in Verona Cove for the summer with her artist mother, making the most of the loan of a beach-front, modernist bungalow.

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the remedy

I found The Remedy by Suzanne Young (Simon Pulse, 2015) browsing at the library. (I may have left that day with about 10 too many books.) Looked like a fluffy romantic read, to zone out to in between “important” books. Um, no. I really need to stop judging books by the cover. I loved this squirm inducing specfic story and couldn’t put it down!

Quinlan McKee is a Closer. She provides in-situ grief counselling for families by role playing their dead child. She’s 17 and has been doing this since she was 7. Quinn has one last assignment before she ends her contract and starts living her own life. But will she know who she is after all these years of living a string of other lives?

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pausing at the edge

The Pause by John Larkin

I knew what I was getting into when I read The Pause by John Larkin. Ok, I only borrowed it from the library because it was long-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers 2016. After reading the blurb, I momentarily considered sending it right back, instead I stepped into the void, knowing full well the consequences of my folly.

If, like me, reading about suicide is triggering, you might want to turn back now and never pick up The Pause. Or you could forge ahead and see if you come out the other side. I did!

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when broken men survive

Recently I read a few books one after another about broken men who survive.

My reading choices weren’t intentional, more like unfortunate because the lead up to their resilience winning out affected me more than I wanted. I need to write these feelings out of my head.

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