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.