I have a confession. I had no idea what this book was about before agreeing to review it, all I knew was that Gayle Forman was doing great things, and that I hadn’t read any of her work yet. I was quite startled to find that it’s primarily about the aftermath of suicide, but I put my big girl pants on and charged in anyway.
And I am so glad that I did.
This book isn’t about suicide, not really. Yes, a character’s death is a central part to the story, and there’s a lot of time discussing the how’s and why’s of it happening, but it’s about so much more than that. Really, it’s about family, friendship and inner strength. It’s about discovering that there’s more to other people - both good and bad - if you look past the surface.
Writing about suicide and depression in any form is going to be a touchy subject, but it’s handled very well in this case. A lot of time is spent on the “how”, and there’s quite a bit of introspection and “what if”, but there’s no glorification.
I found Cody to be really interesting, even if I do think she made some questionable decisions. I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the story, and seeing how her relationship with her mother develop was really well done.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance aspect, it did seem a bit cliched and inevitable, but as that seems to be a given with just about every YA/NA novel, it’s something I’m just going to have to live with.
All in all, this was a great book and I do recommend it - just be aware of your own triggers around suicide, depression and mental health.