Dancing Without Music is Now Available

When major depressive disorder, seizures, and an eating disorder leads to hopelessness, lack of interest, loss of pleasure, and worse: alcohol abuse, self-mutilation, isolation, anxiety, panic attacks, physical illness, and suicidal feelings, seventeen-year-olds Mia Callan and Milo Chatham who only recently began dating find this brutal array of dangers overwhelming, and possibly even deadly.

Bullying on and off social media, spiked drinks at first parties, stalking, and sexual assault are just some of the obstacles they have to face as burgeoning young adults.

What happens when they try to get out of danger? Will it follow them anyway and wreak havoc upon their lives and those of their loved ones. Will they find the correct medications that will allow them to live normal lives full of success, satisfaction, and sobriety? Can a first true love win in the end?

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, novel in verse, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on Bookshop, TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

Book review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

Bloomsbury, 2016

In this intensely romantic and emotional rollercoaster of a story, Vivi is the type of girl who wants to live her life to the fullest and to record her passage through life, but she has a disease: bipolar disorder. Although she wants to live, the treatment leaves her to be miserable and so she stops taking her medications. Jonah is a boy who lost his father to a heart attack. He and his two older brothers have to take care of the house and their three little brothers. Jonah doesn’t really get to experience everything other kids his age do while Vivi does whatever she possibly can. Throughout the novel, the two characters learn a lot from each other and learn to engage in a lot of new things they usually wouldn’t.

This YA novel was filled with many moments of suspense and joy as it brought out so many different perceptions of each character and overall was just a very exciting read as its storyline is magnificent with its appreciated details that take you into Vivi and Jonah’s world. This well-written experience about accepting yourself and helping others while continuing to live on even though things might not be at their best right now and taking life rain and shine. It’s about how sometimes even our scars can help others and give a little bit of light to those we meet. This book shows how lives can be messy but beautiful while still leaving an impact on so many others, too.

Enjoyed this post? Why not check out my YA novels about mental illness or Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads, LinkedInBookbub , or AllAuthor.

My Reason for Starting This Blog

I started this blog to reach out and connect to people with similar challenges in a healthy and positive way. The blog has personal history, ideas on lessening the severity of some symptoms, insight, goals, and therapies for those with similar diagnoses or those with family members or friends that are curious on how to communicate or help their loved one.

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

It’s fulfilling and therapeutic to open up about my past, present, and future goals. I’ve enjoyed the messages that I’ve received from likeminded individuals through my books’ contact information. Some of the things that helped me aided them as well. That makes it all worth it.

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

By finding articles and researching studies to write my own articles, I learn more about my diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment for my disorders and those of loved ones such as depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, eating disorders, self-harm, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, among others.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Some people who read this mental health blog are concerned individuals who want to reach out and connect with the mental health community to understand what their children, family members, friends, or acquaintances experience. Some of the earliest posts on this blog are from a few years ago when I started it. My mental health took a downturn for a brief time, and I became distracted. This time around, I’m in a better place and have learned more than I knew before and continue to take part in therapies to lessen the illness. I welcome those new readers and thank those that have written to me about the topics I share here and those in my books.

Enjoyed this post? Why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads, LinkedInBookbub, BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

Book review: All the Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman

Hot Key, 2019

As soon as I read the subject matter of this boldly designed book, I knew that I had to devour it. It’s a character driven; UK Young Adult contemporary novel based on mental health. Not to be disappointed when I began reading, I was drawn into the stories of the three girls. I loved the author’s note at the beginning which really set the tone for the book.

The book tells the story of 3 young girls from 3 very different lives, but they all have one sad fact in common, the want to die.  As a result the girls each sign up to a website that is designed to pair people with other people who want to die. But it is this pack that brings the 3 girls together and allows them to find the support that they each needed

As I learnt more about why Mehreen, Olivia and Cara had joined MementoMori. I really began to connect and empathize with the diverse characters which weren’t the sole focus of the story and didn’t define the characters entirely. Mehreen’s religion was an important factor, but she was so much more than just that and was such a real character that, despite me being from a totally different background, I could relate. I found it to be the same with all the characters and that was something that I think Yasmin really excelled at with this novel and its unusual typeface

So, the website sets a time place and course of death for the girls, and as the date of termination (as it is referred to) approaches the girls have to complete a task that is set and send photographic proof. The first 2 tasks the girls do with easy, but it is when the 3rd task arrives that the girls admit that they have changed their minds. 

The problem is the website doesn’t want to let the girls out. After all, they signed up and agreed to the terms and conditions. Pushing the girls to their breaking point the girls begin to crumble and turn on each other.  

This is an interesting book, but as I first mentioned you need to be careful when reading this story as it is an emotional and mental journey. It has to be noted that this book contains many triggers, for those that vulnerable to such material. Topics touched upon, besides suicide, include self-harm, rape and severe anxiety and depression. I personally was okay with all of these and found that they were handled very sensitively and not in a way that made for uncomfortable reading.

All the Things We Never Said is not a typical YA book. I believe that it is a book that can help to open dialogue and get people talking about their feelings and issues, instead of hiding behind a mask that so many people use today to hide how they are truly feeling.

This book highlights the importance of speaking, talking about your problems, and how you are feeling. As it is through these actions, the characters realize that they are not alone and that the simple act of talking to someone openly and honestly can change your perspective.

An audiobook is also available for those that may have issues with the typeface.

Enjoyed this post? Why not check out my YA novels or Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads, LinkedInBookbub , or AllAuthor.

Book review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014

When Laurel starts writing letters to dead people for a school assignment, she begins to spill about her sister’s mysterious death, her mother’s departure from the family, her new friends, and her first love. —adapted from cover

Clever approach used in telling this compelling and well-written story. This book was beautiful with a wonderful protagonist, and an amazingly intricate and complex cast of supporting characters. Laurel starts a school assignment by writing a letter to a person who has died. So, it’s told solely through letters to different famous dead people, (such as Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Heath Ledger, and Amelia Earhart Laurel) as it explains her life after her older sister dies. She keeps writing more stories to work out her feelings of all the events she has had in her life like the “fairy” moments and witchcraft that she and her sister shared.

The story reminds me of Speak at some points. The events slowly reveal what happened to her and she learns how to help herself. After the accident Laurel wants to start fresh so she starts at a new high school, meets new friends and starts to act like her sister to feel like she’s still there. And it’s through these letters she begins to be able to talk about what happened and Laurel finds out who she really is.

This book was heartbreaking and stunning in every aspect and reminiscent of Perks of Being a Wallflower and 13 Reasons Why. Its honesty as it deals with grief and growth struck me as wholeheartedly beautiful. The story was dark at times, anxiety-inducing as you watch the main character deal with her issues in not-so-healthy ways but empowering in the end. Not only that, but this book gives some really great music suggestions. Fans of any John Green novel should definitely give this book a try. And the author is currently writing a screenplay—this would make an excellent film!

Book review: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007

Three teens who meet at Reno, Nevada’s Aspen Springs mental hospital after each has attempted suicide connect with each other in a way they never have with their parents or anyone else in their lives. This was a very good book, well-written in free verse format, that described the repercussions of suicide.

Their distinct character’s lives unfold in alternating chapters which might be confusing at times remembering whose mind you’re in. The dynamic of the 3 characters was also a little confusing because the 2 boys were supposed to be gay, but then fell in love with Vanessa.

SPOILER ALERT:

I blame the parents for what happens to Conner. after his sister read the letter I got the sense that he was going to kill himself because that letter screamed you have to be perfect when the reason he killed himself is because he wasn’t perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And his mother never seemed to think it was her fault, she just thought going to a mental hospital could fix him, but its hard to fix someone who felt empty inside to begin. I wonder if she really loved her son at all. I’ve got to say I like the father more; he is also to blame but I think he was a really good person inside, deep down but he just didn’t know how to show it and that’s why he was so distant.

The story was interesting from the very beginning, easy to read, realistic, and connectable. There wasn’t a moment where I didn’t feel close to the characters!

Ellen Hopkins writes in such a unique format. The books may be thick but don’t let that stop you. Her books just flow along about serious issues and get right to the heart of the topics, no matter she chooses to write on. The characters are so well explored and distinct. I’d recommend this for those who like darker YA fiction about mental illness.

Book review: Crazy by Amy Lynn Reed

Simon Pulse, 2012

CRAZY, from author Amy Reed is an emotional rollercoaster ride through teen angst, romance, and the very real hopelessness that some feel and don’t know how to face. The novel, written in the unique and engaging format of email correspondence between just two characters, follows teens Isabel and Connor, who live in different cities and virtually different worlds but have become each other’s greatest confidant. They meet at summer camp and become friends. Connor is falling in love with Isabel and Izzy is falling over the cliff of sanity.  At times, their relationship is very close and other times, very destructive.  

Izzy suffers from bipolar disorder. Connor is trying to help her and at times Izzy is very selfish and mean to him. The emails between the two are open and honest and at times, painful to read. Izzy’s family life is a mess and most of the time she feels very alone and that no one cares.  She is wrong about her friendship with Connor though. He refuses to give up on her so while she keeps pushing him away, he keeps trying to pull her in.   Izzy suffers from depression and low self-esteem issues and as a result has random hookups.  When she goes off on these emotions, Connor is always there to pull her back down to reality.

As Izzy descends into a dark spiral driven by what she has yet to learn is the onset of bipolar disorder, Connor tries desperately to reach her. In one instance she nearly sets her house on fire. Connor is falling in love with the girl who doesn’t know how to be loved, or to love herself, and all he wants to do is show her just how loved she is.

What begins as a seemingly typical tale of a moody teen slowly turns dark as Izzy’s ability to function with her disorder deteriorates. Connor finally begins to fear for his friend, understanding just how grave her situation is, until she finally sends one email that tips him off to her attempted suicide. The boy is forced to find the strength inside himself to go to their parents and the authorities and find the help Izzy needs before she is lost to him forever.

The authors treatment of the spiral of depression in the teen years that can lead to suicide is insightful and touching, and very real. Reed paints an intimate image of the confusion a person experiences that can lead to feeling like there’s no way out—and the fear and helplessness felt by those close to them as they try to understand and help.

Book review: Therapy by Kathryn Perez

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014

Kathryn Perez created characters for this book that were deep, flawed and in some ways broken. She revealed such effortless depth depicting depression, bullying, and self-harm.

Jessica Alexander, the poet protagonist in this YA novel about mental illness is tormented by high school struggles and suffers from self-mutilation. It’s a story about friendship, self-discovery, redemption that is interspersed with heartache. The trials and tribulations of depression add to the facts that she doesn’t fit in in any high school cliques, or have meaningful friendships. She doesn’t know anything about love or hope and allows boys to use her for sex by being easily accessible attracting ridicule from the popular kids. Deep down, Jessica wants to be loved and has no real family to support her. She’s lost. She uses her body and sex to build her own self confidence and self worth making her unpopular and gets her attacked by her bullies. On one particular beating occasion, Jessica is saved by a popular boy.

So, enter Jace Collins, who is a smart, athletic boy with a heart of gold who protects and stands by Jessica’s side and may have his own dark side which allows him to empathize with victims. like the fact that he lost his younger sister to bullying. While Jace is confident, Jessica has low self-esteem and lacks confidence. Her clinginess may ruin what they’ve found in each other. But Jace really sees her and gets her, so he sets their relationship on the correct path to protect her from the same demise as his younger sister. Their friendship turns into a budding romance, but one final thing will tear them apart for six years where Jessica suffers in silence.

Jessica made decisions because she honestly felt that she was doing the right thing.  Seeing how these decisions impacted her life in the future was often times painful and heartbreaking. It’s a sad journey that teaches us life isn’t easy and that you need to learn from your mistakes. But what if one learns to love oneself? Is there a guiding power that once you become a better person sets you on a path of redemption?

This beautifully written, deep, and emotional tale finds Jessica suffering in silence, and after six years is forced to face her past. When a series of unexpected events arise, will secrets be revealed and will lies become truth? Jace crosses paths with Jessica again in the most unexpected way.  Seeing them as adults, the reader sees that Jace is that guy in school that you never got over, the one who sticks with you through the years wondering what they are up to, always a constant within your heart.  There were so many missed opportunities, so much wasted time, and so much heartache.

Enter Kingsley Arrington who throws the reader for a loop and steals your heart. He comes into Jessica’s life at a time where she was so down on herself and her life. He meets Jessica in therapy. She’s there for cutting, promiscuity, and depression; He is there with a plethora of his own secrets. Kingsley shows her unconditional love, kindness and how to truly live life. Result: love triangle. Who will Jessica choose? All the while battling her depression. Watching Jessica’s journey struggling with mental illness as well as the stigma of the disease is devastating yet beautiful.

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