Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon Pulse
First Published: 23rd January 2007
Sometimes you don’t wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same.
Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act — suicide.
Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.
Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.
And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.
In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun — and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other’s help, they can find their way to a better life — but only if they’re strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.
I read this book a couple of years ago but I think it is a book worth highlighting and promoting on my blog as it encompasses one of my key interests – mental illness – and is also a book written in verse, only the second book I have ever read that is written in verse.
Ellen Hopkins is a fantastic author and has written many books now in the same style. She tackles the ‘hard issues’ and does not sugar coat them. I think I was initially put off by the fact the book is written in verse, but don’t let this put you off! It is different, though I think you will either ‘love it or hate it’. And I loved it, once I started I couldn’t put the book down. The short verses meant you quickly moved on and wanted to find out what happens next so you just keep reading and reading.
As you follow the stories of three teenagers you begin to learn why they are in a psychiatric facility and what has happened in their lives to lead them to attempting suicide. The stories are real and some may know people who have been through similar situations and problems. There is no sugar coating, and there is no magic cures.
I had heard a lot about Ellen Hopkins before I read this book and I guess I did enjoy it but maybe not as much as if I hadn’t heard so many ‘rave reviews’. I enjoyed her style as it was different but because the novel is written in verse sometimes I missed the increased depth and sometimes had to go back and re-read pages to make sure I understood what had happened. The book though looking big was an extremely quick read – one or two sittings if I remember correctly.
I loved the style, I loved the rawness, I loved the characters, but for some reason I feel I can only give it a 3.5 out of 5.
I would recommend the book to many people. But something is holding me back about it. I think finishing it so quickly left me a bit empty or let down, maybe wanting more? I don’t know. Maybe because it was a while ago I read this book. I really don’t know. I own ‘Crank’ By Ellen Hopkins and need to read that at some point, maybe in doing so I will see where my issue lies. But I still highly recommend due to the gritty nature of the topic and the way it is handled.