October 1st, 2016
A whip-smart, heart-wrenching debut YA novel about first love, first loss, and filmmaking that will delight fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven
In the movie version of Amelia s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a beach party in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She s Toby Anderson s Younger Sister. She s perfectly happy to watch Toby s hijinks from the sidelines, when she s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.
But recently Toby s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn t know what s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that s taken his place. And there s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia not Toby s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby and herself it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.”
*I was provided a copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
I’m just going to say this right away just to get everything out but I really didn’t like this book and I had a lot of problems right from the beginning which is never good to be honest. There are a few reasons why I decided to request this book from NetGalley. First of all, this book is compared to Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven works. I read their books before and I loved them so I was super excited about this one, obviously. Secondly, just look at that cover. That cover is eye-catching as hell and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to read the blurb. The last reason why I requested this book was the blurb. It looked like a cute contemporary and it looked really good.
Here is where everything went wrong. Why? Because this blurb is so inaccurate. I was expecting a cute contemporary but what I got was a book about mental illness, in this case schizophrenia. The worst of all, it wasn’t even a good representation of schizophrenia and that made everything even worse. By the way, if you don’t be spoiled you might want to avoid this review because this will have some SPOILERS.
I had a lot of problems with the mental illness representation in this book but my biggest problem with this book was the main character Amelia without any doubt. I really hated her and couldn’t connect with her at all. Amelia was such a spoiled little brat and such a bad sister.
First of all, when Toby starts acting weird and ending up in really bad situations what does she do?? She lies to her parents and keeps covering him because of some stupid Sibling Secret Society. I’m an only child so I don’t really know how it is to have a sibling but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t cover for him if I had one that was acting weird and disappeared for over 24 hours. It was not right. She knew that was not how Toby used to be and she still never told her parents what was happening to him and how weird he was acting. It had to be one of his friends (one that was always high) to actually take Toby to their parents when he was having some sort of episode because Amelia would never do it.
She also keeps telling everyone how amazing her older brother, Toby, is but as soon as he is diagnosed with schizophrenia she can only think about herself. She only thinks how that ruined her life, how that happened to her and how embarrassing it will be if everyone in school finds out about his mental illness. Come on, if he was such an awesome brother and if you loved him so much why can you only think about yourself?? Honestly, I can’t even remember if she ever thought how difficult it might have been to her brother because he was the one who was in such a difficult situation. He was the one who was dealing with schizophrenia.
Yes, this is something that is difficult not only to the person who has the illness but also for the family but come on, she was not the only one going through that. Also, I hated how she didn’t even try to learn about schizophrenia. Everyone around her tried to learn something about it, her parents, her best-friend and even her long distance boyfriend. What did she do? She got mad at them and distanced herself from them. She also never wanted to talk to them about was going on because she was ashamed and because they (her best-friend and boyfriend) didn’t understand what she was going through. I just hated her so much. Also, if he was such an amazing brother why did she ignore him for months after finding about his schizophrenia? She completely ignored him. She never visited him at the hospital and when he left for a treatment center she never called or emailed him. NEVER. He would call his family every Sunday and she would never be there.
That just made even more mad and frustrated with her than I was before. Amelia did get a little bit better by the end of the book but for me it was already late to save this book for me.
Another thing I really didn’t like was her relationship with Epstein. When the book starts they are already dating. They met over Summer and are in a long distance relationship when the book starts so we can’t know how their relationship was before. We do know how their relationship is during the book and I can tell you that it’s really weird. To start, they have zero chemistry.
Their conversations are weird and out of context and I can’t even understand why they even like each other. I can’t also understand why she was so obsessed with his ears. Come on, if you love him so much I’m pretty sure you can’t forget about his “big ears” right? You don’t have to think about it every time you see him. Also, his ears can’t be that big.
There’s also the sexual situations thing. If you read my blog you know I’m okay with sex in books. I read a lot of new adult and sex is a guarantee in those books. But the sex scenes in this one were so weird and cringe worthy. So, so, so weird.
I think it helps a lot that Amelia was not even close to be ready to have sex. I still don’t understand why it happened. I could have gone through this book without those scenes. It wouldn’t make a big difference because I would probably hate Amelia anyway but it would have helped a lot.
I would love to say that this book had a good representation of schizophrenia but I can’t even say that because there’s nothing about it in this book. What we know is that Toby has a few episodes and goes to the hospital and to a treatment facility. In the end we also learn that he was hearing voices and that’s why he smoked so much pot but that’s it. There’s nothing more about schizophrenia in this book because Amelia doesn’t even try to learn about it even when her amazing brother has it. That really made me mad because nowadays it’s really important to show some good representation in books, especially in young adult books, but that didn’t happened in this one.
Overall, this book was a huge disappointment to me. First of all, it wasn’t what I was expecting because when I read the blurb I had no idea this book would deal with mental illness. There was also the fact that Amelia was such a whiny terrible character that could only think about herself. I just hated her right from the beginning. There’s also the fact that schizophrenia was so badly represented in this book which was a bummer. So I really can’t recommend this book to anyone. If you want to try it, go ahead but I’, pretty sure you’ll have a lot of problems with it.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? If you haven’t read it would you read it?