Tag Archive | mental illness

Ozzie’s world is shrinking At the Edge of the Universe (fiction) by Shaun David Hutchinson

book cover of At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com First Tommy is gone,
then the memory of him is gone from every mind,
except one…

Why can’t anyone remember Tommy? His best friend since 2nd grade, boyfriend since 8th grade, love of his life – by his side on July 3rd, gone on July 4th, and no one remembers him but Ozzie!

Just published this week, you can find Ozzie’s story – with each chapter title showing a smaller and smaller diameter of the universe from science websites – at your local library or independent bookstore now.

What do you do when a friend leaves?

Book info: At the Edge of the Universe / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: If Ozzie can just find where his boyfriend Tommy has gone, then the high school senior can stop his family from disintegrating, celebrate gender-fluid best friend Lua’s musical success, and prove to everyone that Tommy does exist!

And discover why lab partner Calvin started cutting himself after quitting the wrestling team.

And stop the universe from shrinking, shrinking, with his little Florida town at the center.

More than meets the eye – audiobook encounters

Appearances mask the inner being all too well in this week’s free AudioSYNC novels.

Click the book title to go straight to the AudioSYNC download page for it, but hurry! This pair of free complete audiobooks will only available for download from Thursday through Wednesday (May 26 – June 2, 2016).

Once you’ve downloaded an AudioSYNC audiobook,  you can listen to it any time, as long as you have it on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone | Read by Amy Rubinate Published by Ideal Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.comEvery Last Word
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Read by Amy Rubinate
Published by Ideal Audiobooks

Carefully hiding her OCD from her clique, Samantha is introduced to her school’s secret Poet’s Corner by quirky Caroline and discovers a new side of herself, a cute guitar player, and a major threat to her sanity.

I just LOVED this book, recommending it here last August!

Egg and Spoon CD cover of Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire | Read by Michael Page Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Gregory Maguire
Read by Michael Page
Published by Brilliance Audio

How does a wealthy family’s train journey to visit the Tsar intersect with a poor Russian family’s road to starvation, via the chicken-legged house of witch Baba Yaga?

People are not always (or often) the same on the inside as on the outside – listen and learn?

Gena/Finn, by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson (book review) – friends in fandom

book cover of Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comA television show that they adore,
Creative juices flowing in words and art,
Completing the story arc, like their friendship completes them…

I heard authors Hannah (Not Otherwise Specified, which I love) and Kat last month at TxLA as they discussed fandoms, friendship, and writing this book together totally through chat and email – so good.

Ask for this April 2016 release at your local library or independent bookstore. And for more on real-life fandoms and cons (“Up Below” is a fictional TV show), look for Sam Maggs’ Fangirls’ Guide to the Galaxy  which I recommended here.

And it’s National Readathon Day, too!! Share what you’re reading today with hashtag #Readathon2016.

Fandom or obsession? Discuss.

Book info: Gena/Finn / Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson. Chronicle Books, 2016.   [Hannah’s site]  [Kat’s site] [publisher site]  [authors’ video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Brought together online by the fanfic and fanart that they create for a beloved TV show, two young women bond immediately and experience friendship’s highs and lows as other relationships falter.

Fanfic stories by Evie (short for Gena’s online name) that fill in the gaps in their favorite TV cop show inspire Finn (for Stephanie) to start drawing again. Sharing her art with Evie leads to numerous email and chat exchanges as recent college grad Finn and high school senior Evie find so much in common.

Big questions link into the backstory for their mutual admiration:

Should Finn really have followed boyfriend Charlie to California after college?
Is getting into an Ivy League school truly in Gena’s best interests?
Why won’t Gena stay in the room with cast members of “Up Below” when this fancon is the reason she and Finn traveled from opposite coasts to meet in person?

Told entirely in texts, chat windows, emails, fanfic, fanart, and journal entries, this coming of age story celebrates the passion of fandoms, the strength of women’s friendships, and the unlikelihood of completely outrunning one’s past.


B for Both of Me, by Friesen (book review) – they meet, yet only 1/2 of him remembers her

book cover of Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen published by Blink |booksYALove.comCounting stars,
traveling light and often,
avoiding entanglements, until…

Scam artist teen always on the move meets an artistic young man with two personalities and a near-psychic knowledge of what she’s running from – how can Clara resist trying to tap into what Elias “sees”?

But Clara never planned on falling for Elias or struggling to understand his dissociative identity disorder or making a road trip toward answers that could imperil them both.

Completely different worlds from the dystopia that Friesen brought us previously in Aquifer  (my notes here), the Salem that calm Elias wanders through in his mind, the minutely ordered existence that angry Elias tries to catalog, and the everyday world that Clara longs to leave behind.

Is there ever just one personality inside you?

Book info: Both of Me / Jonathan Friesen. Blink, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Dual-personality Elias somehow knows more about her past than Clara wishes to recall, but their journey to verify the answers stretches both young people’s affection and endurance – and Elias’ hold on reality.

(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Writing Clementine, by Kate Gordon (book review) – journaling secrets, reader optional

book cover of Writing Clementine by Kate Gordon, published by Allen & Unwin | BooksYALove.comWhen there’s nothing to write about
and you still have to write,
sometimes big truths appear…

Year 9 is tough on Clementine, with her best friends and family members growing away from her, until fascinating Fred arrives, dressed like a dandy from a bye-gone era, asking her to join his steampunk world and truly become the self she writes about in her philosophy class journal.

This Australian title arrives in the US on Sept. 1st , so your local library or local independent bookstore should be able to easily get it through Independent Publishers Group.

Several in-school personas in Writing Clementine  don’t match up with their leisure-time pursuits – what’s the most unusual public-private contrast you’ve seen?


Book info: Writing Clementine / Kate Gordon. Allen & Unwin, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Clementine feels left behind as family and friends change, so a new student’s invitation to role-play in a steampunk society lets the Tasmanian teen experience acceptance and romance that she never even dreamed about in her journal.

Her best friends demand that Clem grow up in a hurry, then they move on. Her brother’s been holed up in his room for a year, and she feels responsible. Her philosophy teacher requires daily journal writing, but won’t read or comment on it unless asked.

A new student moves to town, like a reviving breeze with his elegant clothes and intriguing smile. Fred is such a contrast to creepy Sam and the other boys at school!

When Fred introduces her to the Burnie Steampunk Society, Clem finds new friends as they pretend to live in Victorian times.

Can she ever accept that Fred likes her just as she is?
Why can’t she just fix what’s wrong for her beloved big brother?
What should she do about Sam’s unwanted attention?

Clementine faces choices, changes, and challenges during her first year of high school, as recounted in the pages of her philosophy class journal. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone (book review) – can poetry save your life?

book cover of Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone published by Hyperion TeensDig and dig and dig to answer a question,
Swim to the right rhythm (always in lane 3),
Keep obsessions hidden from everyone, always…

Most folks toss around “OCD” for any neat-freak behavior, but Pure-O (Purely Obsessional) OCD isn’t that at all. Reading Sam’s tumblr gives glimpses into the teen’s life, worries, and soul-searching.

This strong book was published in June, so your local library or independent bookstore should have it for you now. Stone wrote it based a young woman that she knew, then fact-checked all behaviors and responses with mental health professionals to bring us a very true Sam.

Venture down the stairs, into the Poet’s Corner – will you bare your soul and share your thoughts with others?

Book info: Every Last Word / Tamara Ireland Stone. Hyperion Teens, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

My book talk: Sam keeps her obsessional OCD and her at-school persona separate until she is befriended by Caroline and dares to share in the hidden Poet’s Corner.

Her best friends are the Crazy Eights, the popular, snarky girls at their high school –  Samantha can never let them know about her obsession with 3s or the dark thoughts that careen through her head.

She could never tell the Eights about her new-found friendship with smart and unstylish Caroline or share with her therapist her growing attraction to the guitar-playing guy in the Poet’s Corner – why not?

As the poets share their deep feelings and funny reactions to life, Sam discovers her own voice and realizes that she’s grown away from the Crazy Eights – but will she be able to cope with the bullying that her long-time friends will surely unleash if she leaves them?

If only life at school were as simple as swimming to beat her best time in the summer…
If only she could control her obsessional thoughts and be normal…
If only she could glue all her worries onto a wall and leave them, as her new friends do when they paper the walls of the Poet’s Corner with their writings…

Friendship, romance, poetry, becoming your own self – Every Last Word  that Sam writes in her color-coded notebooks comes from her heart.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Girl Defective, by Simmone Howell (book review) – summer of music, mystery & weird

book cover of Girl Defective by Simmone Howell published by Atheneum Books for Young ReadersScary-sad missing girl mystery.
Little brother thinks he’s a super-detective.
New guy at their vinyl shop has a secret.

Sky isn’t sure what’s worse – Dad ignoring the eviction notice, seeing friend Nancy drift away, or her dreams of drowned Mia.

Watching Gully all summer will be dreadful, since the 10 year old wears his pig-snout mask always and logs every scrap of conversation like a secret agent – can’t Sky just work at the family record shop and go to concerts like everyone else?

Snag a free excerpt of the book here, then ask for Girl Defective  at your local library or independent bookstore.

Did family expectations every make you defer a dream job?

Book info: Girl Defective / Simmone Howell. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: This summer, Sky just wants to run her family’s vintage vinyl shop and fall in love, but dire secrets percolate up in their scruffy Australian neighborhood, and her social-skills-lacking little brother Gully keeps calling the police with clues.

After Mom left them to “follow her art” and Dad crawled into his homebrew bottle, it’s been up to Skylark to take care of 10-year-old autist Gully (who melts down when everything isn’t just-so) and keep the doors of their vintage vinyl record shop open for collectors.

Stylish pal Nancy tries to get Sky out for concerts before a developer razes local venues (“progress” – ha!),  a missing person case is deemed suicide (who’s making those memorial murals?), and Dad hires new guy Luke to work in the shop (very cute, in a hidden-sadness way) – quite enough happening in St. Kilda before the eviction notice arrives.

What will become of the vinyl shop?
Did Gully really find clues about Mia’s death?
Could Luke really be interested in Sky?

Music, dreams, lies, love, death, and clues – not quite the summer holiday that Sky had envisioned! (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

X is eXactly, as in Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You, by Todd Hasak-Lowy (book review)

book cover of Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy published by Simon Pulse1. Parents shouldn’t change
2. Friends shouldn’t move
3. Lists should make it easier to cope
4. Really, they should help…

Darren’s life seems so out-of-his-hands right now, after the divorce and Dad’s lifestyle change and Nick being at college.

He copes by making lists, and skipping school with amazing artist Zoey to visit Nick, and making lists, and wondering where Zoey has gone…

Just published last week, Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You  lets Darren tell his story in his own way.

What have you done to keep things under control during an extremely hectic time?

Book info: Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You / Todd Hasak-Lowy. Simon Pulse, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Making lists and enduring all the changes in his life leaves Darren enough energy to skip school (just once), get in trouble at brother’s university (just once), and have two girlfriends at the same time (just once), but the high school junior is still trying to figure things out – in lists.

After Dad and Mom divorced, they both were different – Darren’s not sure he likes either change, but what can he do? Making lists helps.

Names that he’d rather have, reasons that he can’t drive yet, ways to convince Zoey to take him to see Nate at college – lists are good.

But somehow, all the lists haven’t made it easier to tell a girl at band camp that he’s sort of dating Zoey or know why Mom suddenly needs to have Shabbat dinner every Friday or figure out what to tell Dad’s analyst…

Is visiting Dad’s new place going to be okay?
Where has Zoey suddenly gone?
Will anything be back to normal by his 16th birthday? (c’mon, universe!)

This Chicago teen tells his story in lists, but who knows what the last entry will be.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Red Madness, by Gail Jarrow (book review) – medical mystery & modern food science

book cover of Red Madness by Gail Jarrow published by Calkins CreekPellagra…
a disease brought on by poverty?
bad sanitation? poor nutrition?

Wait! When was the last time you heard of anyone suffering from its bright red rashes, impaired digestive system, delirious visions, and death?

Thanks to the doctors who wouldn’t quit searching for answers, you probably never will!

Red Madness recounts the medical sleuthing involved and tells why pellagra is listed as an inactive disease in today’s USA.
Thankfully, all the historic photos are in black and white.


Book info: Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat / Gail Jarrow. Calkins Creek, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Baffled by a Europe-only disease appearing in the southern USA before World War I, scientists and doctors raced to find the cause of pellagra which led to insanity and death.

Some blamed the disease on moldy corn or sugarcane products, others stated that only poor people in squalor contracted pellagra. When a well-to-do Atlanta woman died of its painful red rashes, weight loss, and delirium under none of these conditions, US doctors and researchers began having conferences to stop this deadly killer. Was it contagious? Was it dietary?

Red Madness shares case histories and photographs of pellagra sufferers in the early 20th century and chronicles the medical detective work of Babcock, Goldberger, and others who devoted countless hours of observation and research to conquering this fatal disease.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Me On the Floor, Bleeding, by Jenny Jagerfeld (book review) – thumbtip gone, mom gone, Maja is… where?

book cover of Me On the Floor, Bleeding by Jenny Jagerfeld published by Stockholm TextMaja really wouldn’t harm herself.
Mum really wouldn’t forget their weekend plans.
Dad really wouldn’t assume the worst (yes, he would).

A classic outsider at her high school, Maja is willing to wander a bit further in search of the truth than the adults in her life are comfortable with.

Not the first book-in-translation that I’ve featured on BooksYALove, but its publisher is my first small press from Sweden. Hope to see more YA from Stockholm Text in the future!


Book info: Me On the Floor, Bleeding / Jenny Jagerfeld; translated by Susan Beard. Stockholm Text, 2014.   [author site in Swedish]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Maja is injured at school, everyone worries that she did it on purpose… except her mom, who’s gone missing. The Swedish teen’s search turns up more answers than she was looking for.

If she hadn’t been trying to make a bookshelf instead of sculpture for art class, the 17 year old wouldn’t have mangled the tip of her thumb in the electric saw after hours.

If Mum had answered her text, Maja wouldn’t have taken the train to an empty house for her visiting weekend and found Mum’s mobile phone left behind.

If Justin next door hadn’t helped Maja clean up after yet another accident, they wouldn’t have gone to the coffeehouse together, or the bar, or his room.

And Maja keeps flashing back to the whirling saw blade and the blood and Mum’s increasingly odd communications. Where are the answers?