Title: Just A Normal Tuesday
Author: Kim Turrisi
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Synopsis: It’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide.
Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a “grief camp” for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Kim Turrisi’s beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book’s appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai’s authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.
There have been a lot of books out there that deal with teens a suicide, such as Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. In my opinion, this book, Just a Normal Tuesday, is another wonderfully written novel about what it’s like to lose someone and wonder why, and what you might have been able to do to prevent it had you known.
Kai is a sixteen year old girl who finds a note from her sister on a regular Tuesday morning that begins with telling her that if she is reading the letter, it is because she is already gone. Heartbroken over losing her sister, she struggles with her own grief in unhealthy ways as she tries to block out the pain – such as drug use and resorting to lashing out at those around her. Her parents, who are also dealing with the grief of losing their daughter, aren’t sure if they can help her, because they are wrapped up in dealing with it in their own ways. So they put her in a grief camp with other kids who have lost someone, in hopes that she will be able to find her way with them and figure things out.
While at first Kai isn’t really okay with the idea of being stuck in a camp with other kids who are grieving, eventually she begins to notice that this situation is helping her better deal with her grief, and that maybe she doesn’t have to deal with the pain on her own anymore – she can rely on counselors and the other kids around her to help her through this difficult time, or at least give her emotional support so she doesn’t have to tackle a broken heart alone.
This is such an emotional novel and I’m not afraid to say that it made me incredibly sad in so many places, but it also offers a glimpse of hope that makes the whole book a really rewarding read. The writing is beautiful and completely engulfs you while reading, making it so that you don’t ever want the story to end.
As far as the characters go, I absolutely loved Kai. I felt like through her grief and struggle to come to to terms with what happened to her sister, I got to know her really well. Suicide is a really difficult topic to discuss, and writing about it in young adult literature can make for a really powerful story. When coupled with a character who you can really feel emotions with because of how well they are written and how multi-dimensional they are, it makes for an incredible and unforgettable reading experience that will stick with you long after you finish the last page.
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
A graduate of Florida State University, Kim Turrisi began her career in film and television. After a year of on-set production (getting coffee, wrangling actors and taking lunch orders) Kim segued to the development side of the business. First working as a development executive at Columbia-Tri-Star and eventually shepherding many projects in family entertainment for Disney, Viacom and Hallmark.
Kim created and wrote an online web series for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She wrote for ABC Family’s webisode series, PRETTY DIRTY SECRETS, an internet companion piece to smash hit PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.
While she’s always been a voracious reader and writer, she never thought about writing for teens until she immersed herself in the children’s publishing world as the Director of Special Projects for the Society of Book writers and Illustrators. There, reading children’s literature is a big part of her job.
Her debut Young Adult novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is loosely based on the author’s own experience, the debut YA novel follows 16-year-old Kai as she struggles through the emotional aftermath of her sister’s suicide. Kai spends a month at grief camp, discovering a roadmap to piecing her broken heart back together.
One of Kim’s favorite parts of the writing process is to create playlists for her characters that she listens to when she writes. When she revises her manuscripts, she’s generally in mismatched plaid and her desk is riddled with junk food. She collects Chuck Taylor’s, Van’s, and has a killer sock collection.
Born in Hawaii, she credits her love of travel to her life as an Air Force brat moving every two years. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found obsessing over her dogs, Riley and Rocco.
Represented by Tricia Lawrence at EMLA
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kimmyt22
3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY & swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.
1 winner will receive JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.