cover image Get Well Soon

Get Well Soon

Julie Halpern, Author . Feiwel & Friends $16.95 (193p) ISBN 97

Based on Halpern’s (Toby and the Snowflakes ) experiences, this first novel begins as a run-of-the-mill story about a 16-year-old girl’s short stint in a suburban Chicago psychiatric hospital: think sterile hallways, dysfunctional group therapy sessions and foul-mouthed, pissed-off adolescents who have been committed against their will. Before long, however, it evolves into an upbeat story that offers a hype-free, realistic look inside a teen ward. The narrator, Anna Bloom, actually enjoys Lakeland by the end of her stay. She feels more confident in her thinned-out body (although her loss of 12 pounds in 11 days seems a stretch), has opened up to her peers and even had a reciprocated crush on the lanky boy down the hall—none of which would have befallen the pre-Lakeland Anna. The talk about kissing and playing cards could make some forget they’re reading about time spent at the loony bin, as Anna sometimes calls it, but Halpern balances these sorts of discussions with Anna’s reactions to fellow patients who hear voices or claim to worship “the Dark Lord” and to rules forbidding all physical contact. As the novel progresses, readers will get a kick out of Anna’s snarky sense of humor and her capacity for self-renewal. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)