Genre: Young Adult Fiction
This is the story of two teenagers who are misdiagnosed and misunderstood by friends and family, and the adults who seek to help them. Devante has lost his best friend and falls into a deep depression. After barely being rescued from a suicide attempt he finds himself at the Harrison School, a facility for children with mental illness for instead of being medicated they are coached and mentored to understand themselves and their individual challenges. At Harrison, he meets Janina, a young lady who has been there a long time. Janina is shy and insecure but she stretches herself as she gives Devante a tour and they become friends. The book tells their story as they work through their issues and face the future.
I found the characters in this book to be very believable and real. The author has done a great job of developing their personalities and also their backstory. The book is very honest about the ways that their support networks let them down, but is also very hopeful as the family and friends start to realize how they can do better. These characters are African-American but that was not the main theme of the book. The struggles Devante and Janina face could be true of anybody of any race and for that I think this book would appeal to a broad range of young adults. Overall, I applaud the author for the creativity of the storyline, which kept me engaged, and the depth of the characters, which made them feel real. This would be appropriate for older teens but younger ages may have difficulty understanding the mental health aspects of the story.