*I received a free copy of A Tragic Kind of Wonderful from Poppy via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
Published by Poppy on 7 February 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2017 Blogger Shame, 2017 New Release Challenge
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?
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful had my whole body in knots. Mel made my heart break so badly, and at the same time I’m so happy to have met her – to get a glimpse into how life might be for someone who suffers from bipolar disorder.
After a horrible shock, Mel became so sick she couldn’t go to school for several months. Afterwards, though, she never shared with her friends the actual reasons for not coming to school. She didn’t want anyone to think she was weird. Or different. Or someone they might not want to spend their time with – so she stayed away from them instead. She got new friends, though and that works well for her. Until her old friends reach out to her once more.
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful doesn’t make depression pretty. And it doesn’t sugarcoat what Mel has been through, nor does it try to show an ‘easy’ fix for anything. It gets down and dirty, and has no qualms about showing both the lows and the highs Mel deals with in her daily life.
Mel is the main character, and I fell in love with her form the beginning. While she does have a lot to deal with, she does her best to move forward. To not let her illness keep her down in the pits. And she has more people she can count on than she knows.
Declan and Holly are her new friends, and they’re a couple. Her old friends show up again, too, Connor, Zumi and Annie – whom she lost while she was sick.
Mel’s parents as well as her aunt Joan are very present in Mel’s life as well, and it was refreshing to read about real parents in a young adult book.
Then, there are the people at the Silver Sands Suites where Mel works.
Writing style :
First person, present tense from Mel’s perspective. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful switches between the past and the present.
Lindström managed to bring me close to Mel, and while sometimes I was a bit confused, I guess she was as well. And I truly did feel the feels – both sadness and happiness, and everything in between.
We’ve had this conversation countless times, when Mom’s not around to stop her. Except I know the drugs are a scapegoat. Like how Dad thinks I’m unambitious and unmotivated and blames it on being surrounded by underachievers. Aunt Joan thinks I’m antisocial because of the meds. They’re both wrong. I’m naturally an antisocial underachiever.
Ms. Li laughs and blurts something in Chinese. David grins big – the first I’ve seen from him. Nope, not serious. His grandmother told me he’s hardly ever serious but his poker face is amazing.He laughs and bows his head, and this instantly triggers my bright smile. That almost never happens on its own.