cover image Between the Bliss and Me

Between the Bliss and Me

Lizzy Mason. Soho Teen, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-115-6

An emotional rift opens between white 18-year-old Sydney Holman and her mother when the latter discovers that, instead of living at home in Plainville, N.J., and attending Rutgers, Sydney is planning to attend NYU in the fall, paid for by her affluent paternal grandparents. Now spending part of the summer at her grandparents’ ritzy summer home, Sydney grows closer to her best friend’s new bandmate, blue-eyed Grayson Armstrong, and learns that her absent father, whom she terms “a drunk and an addict,” is schizophrenic and unhoused. The revelation rocks Sydney, leading her to question her own mental health and try to better understand her father. Mason (The Art of Losing) provides a depiction of schizophrenia from a range of lenses, including personal, familial, legal, social, and medical. Some monologues communicating complex issues, such as the state of the U.S. mental health care system, may have better served as an author’s note, but Mason’s care in portraying the complexity of the mental disorder, as well as her exploration of genetic legacy and inherited emotional baggage, is laudable. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (Apr.)