TITLE: Tragic kind of wonderful
AUTHOR: Eric Lindstrom
TRIGGER WARNING: a Bipolar character, hospitalization against her will.
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HarperCollinsNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!
FAVORITE QUOTE: “You are not Bipolar, Mel. you have a bipolar disorder. You also have vibrant blue eyes, a wonderful personality, a tendency to undervalue yourself and many, many other things. None of those things are you”
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?
I nearly didn’t read this book and here’s why, I’ve read 3 books with heavy mental health issues, one I DNF’ed in tears, the next; I finished because it was a review book but didn’t enjoy it, the third was mediocre. And this one? My fourth one? Well, fourth time lucky.
A tragic kind of wonderful follows the main character Mel, who has bipolar disorder and has been hiding it from her friends. This story follows her as events lead to her old friends being her friends again, and she feels the pressure of telling them weighing on her, but then she has a manic episode, and everyone knows.
I think for me personally, I do enjoy books that handle mental illness like this one. But I can’t handle ones that include my mental illnesses (depression & anxiety) so this was so refreshing to read because it felt accurate but it also didn’t hit so close to home to trigger me personally.
There were two things in this book, that made me smile a lot. The first was the amazingly positive Counselling representation. Mel goes to a counselor and actually progresses with time and effort, and her family supports her going to counselling. It’s so refreshing to see a character go to counselling and not have it ‘backfire’ so to say. Mel also works at a retirement home, where one of the men there is a retired psychologist, who encourages Mel to see a doctor and helps her understand her MI.
The second thing? Is the bisexual representation. While it does suck that Mel found out she was bisexual by kissing the ‘bad’ person in the story. It was so nice to see a character who was bi, like myself and actually was far more similar to me than I expected. It was also so heartwarming to read this line as it made me feel like I am normal, and that I can use the term Bi if I want to, “Bisexual doesn’t mean equal attractions. You could be on the edge of the spectrum where you might not think about it. Like you’re eighty percent into boys and only twenty percent into girls”
While it’s not a big thing, it made me feel represented, and it was the first time so this book will hold a special place in my heart for that.
Overall I found the characters relatable and realistic, making me love the characters and want them as my own friends.
I would totally recommend this book to people who want to learn more about bipolar disorder and those who just love a book that deals with the real life effects of a MI (and doesn’t have the love interest fix it! Hurrah!)
Until next time,