Book Review: (Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen is a collection of essays, poems, and art on how bestselling authors, actors, and artist have coped and thrived with mental illness. This is a very important anthology. It covers mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, trichotillomania, eating disorders, bipolar issues, PTSD, and many more.
This isn’t about the science or trying to find a cure. This is more about experiences. Everyone writes about their struggle with their illness. Some of it is how their illness has affected their lives, from misdiagnosis to popular stigmas. There are discussions about defining words, the language used by others, not letting words define you as a person, and how you are not your mental illness. Also, how people found help, and how they still work with their health today. There are authors that recommend other titles, fiction or non-fiction if the reader would like to continue their education and learn more. And even some helpful meditations.
This was a tough review to write and I don’t know if I have given it the proper write up it deserves. I highlighted many phrases or descriptions that clicked. Some of the most relatable works in this anthology for me were, The Train of Overthinking by Gemma Correll; this cartoon, for me, perfectly represents getting stuck in the loop of negative thoughts and Black Hole by Victoria V. E. Schwab which just made me feel less alone about getting stuck inside my head.
I wish I had something like this when I was a teen. Some books and movies put a Hollywood spin on some illness or just completely got it wrong. This anthology allows realistic representation and helps suffer feel less alone. You don’t have a mental illness but maybe you know someone who has or is currently going through some stuff and all I can ask is read this. It can help you have a better understanding, a little more compassion, and start conversations.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen will be published by Algonquin Young Readers on October 2nd, 2018.

 

Purchase this title through Amazon, Book Depository, or Barnes & Noble.

Book Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab is a middle school, paranormal novel and the first book in the Cassidy Black series. Cassidy must go to Edinburgh, Scotland when her parents, ghost hunters, get a TV show. Her parents can’t see ghosts but Cass can. Ever since her drowning Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the ghost but she is not alone. She is joined by her best friend Jacob, the ghost who saved her that day in the river. In Edinburgh Cass meets Lara, a girl that can also see the dead, and learns she has a lot more responsibility but can Cass keep herself safe in a city with many more ghost, a veil grabbing at her, and an evil woman in red known to snatch children’s life force.

I am not the intended age group however, ten-year-old me ate this up. I loved reading the way the Scottish history and superstitions were spun into the story. Schwab does a great job with the book’s atmosphere. It felt as if Edinburgh was another character and the description of the Veil left me with a vivid picture of the in-between. Schwab was able to make a creepy, chilling setting without being gruesome. Also, through their interactions, rules, and secrets, I really enjoyed Cassidy’s relationship with her best friend, Jacob.

My negative, there is a great deal of background before the subplot takes over. The story falls into the first book in a series flaw, a slow beginning and an over too soon ending but I still found myself invested. The end gifts the reader with nagging little questions about what haunted city setting could possibly be next (I have my mind set on Paris) and the ending’s ominous undertone with certain characters.

I enjoyed this novel as an adult reader and if you know middle school readers with a pension for ghost stories, look no farther then City of Ghosts.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab will be published by Scholastic Press on August 28th, 2018.

Purchase this title through Amazon and Book Depository.