The book starts off with fifteen year old April heading back to school after summer vacation. It’s a new school year, and April is upset over the fact that her best friend, Kris, will not be returning with her. April and Kris have always been inseparable, and now April will be returning to school without her. April has always felt invisible, and doesn’t really have any other friends, so she isn’t sure how things are going to go for her.
Then she meets one of the new kids, Jonah. April is surprised that he sits in front of her in class instead of the popular, beautiful girl, and she quickly develops feelings for him. The two start hanging out and getting to know each other, and April is pretty much positive that she is in love with Jonah.
So when Jonah begins showing signs of something being wrong (outbursts in class, mood swings, focusing on things that aren’t there), April is worried, but she will do everything to keep Jonah safe and try not to betray his trust, because she is the only one that Jonah still believes in. Eventually, April realizes that she has to do what is right to try and help Jonah get better, even if it means going against his wishes.
When I first heard about this book, I was really excited to read it. While there are a lot of young adult books dealing with difficult topics, such as mental illnesses, it’s rare to come across a good one about schizophrenia. I’ve read books about schizophrenia that are written in the first person narrative, detailing that person’s struggle with it, but this book is different, because it is told from the point of view of the schizophrenia patient’s girlfriend. It gives a raw, detailed description of our main character, April’s, experience with her boyfriend, Jonah, as he begins showing symptoms of schizophrenia, and continues through with him being hospitalized.
The only problem I had with this book had to do with both April and Jonah’s parents. The two of them spent time together in each other’s rooms, and their parents seemed to be okay with that. There was also one point when Jonah was suffering and April spent the night in his room with him, too, which I found hard to believe because none of the parents seemed to have any issues with it. Sure, he was sick and needed her, but they’re teenagers alone in a bedroom. Not a major issue or anything, but it just came off as a bit strange.
I thought this book was well written. It can be hard to write about such a difficult topic, but the author did a wonderful job with it. She captured the emotions of not only Jonah, but his family, and April, too.
This book feels real. It isn’t fluffy, the romance isn’t cute. It’s a raw and gripping look into the lives of those who care about someone suffering from schizophrenia, as well as the person who has been diagnosed with it. This book is so emotional, so you’ll probably need some tissues when you read it!
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.