A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Eric Lindstrom. Poppy, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-26006-0
Sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan attends school, spends time with friends Holly and Declan, and works at Silver Sands Suites, a retirement home, all while doing her best to appear ordinary. Privately, however, Mel is struggling to keep several things under wraps: her bipolar disorder, her late older brother, and the way she betrayed and drove away her best friend. When a new Silver Sands resident and her grandson enter Mel’s life, she beings to cycle ever faster through mania and depression, and the things she’s tried to hide begin to surface. Lindstrom (Not If I See You First) deftly addresses life with bipolar disorder, as well as the internalized shame often felt by individuals with mental illness. Each chapter begins with a notation of Mel’s emotional state, with various internal forces illustrated by animals (a hamster for her head, a hummingbird for her heart, etc.), which offer insight into Mel’s thoughts and actions. Details about Mel’s deceased brother and estranged best friend are revealed slowly, providing tension and mystery. Emotions run high as Lindstrom’s story confronts mental illness, grief, and shame, but the optimistic resolution provides balance. Ages 15–up. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2016
Release date: 02/07/2017
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