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reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

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mental illness

worrying about the world

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Simon Pulse, 2017) is a nuanced portrayal of the harm anxiety can wreck on a person’s life. Kiko’s difficulties happen side by side with toxic family relations, friendships full of love and understanding, and a budding romance. Kiko’s art is her release and her story centres around her search for an art college where she can nurture her talent and escape her past.

“I live my life in the small space between uncomfortable and awkward.”

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ballad for a mad girl

“We need our monsters to know what it is to be human.”

I came to Ballad for a Mad Girl wishing for another magnificent tale woven through my soul by the hand of Vikki Wakefield. The story is entirely more strange than I anticipated. I still can’t work out if Grace could see unquiet ghosts or if she had one of those annoying mental illnesses. Grace is as confused as me.

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words in deep sorrow

“In my memories, he’s alive, so I can’t make my brain compute the information that I’ll never see him again.”

Reading Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley reminds me of when I read Graffiti Moon. How much I loved it, how much I wanted to be in Melbourne at night, bombing with Cropley. He was living there by that time and a few months later, on his last night, we talked for hours on the phone. That’s what he was doing and I felt like I was by his side. Continue reading “words in deep sorrow”

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?

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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starting now

“It’s times like this I miss speaking the most, these random, meaningless conversations that could go anywhere.”

The Things I Didn’t Say by Kylie Fornasier (Pengin, 2016) is a powerful story about the difficulties of finding a voice when silence is a daily struggle.

Piper has selective mutism. She can’t talk when people other than her immediate family or close friends, are present. She’s battled her silence her whole life – with therapy, understanding teachers and the support of her family.

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inky words

This year’s 2017 Inky Awards Longlist is here

The Inky Awards Longlist came out in March and some of my fav books of the past year were included. The Shortlist will be announced next month and I’m looking forward to seeing what makes it.

Clancy of the Undertow

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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.

Continue reading “When We Collided”

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