Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen – eARC Review

Optimists Die FirstPublication Date:

March 2nd 2017

Publisher:

Andersen Digital

Goodreads Synopsis:

Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she’d kept an eye on her sister, if only she’d sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only…
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula’s ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.

Review:

*I was provided a copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Once again this was a buddy read with Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions so click HERE to read her thoughts about this book :).

While I was super excited to read this book when I first requested it on NetGalley I got a little bit scared later on because I kept reading mixed reviews about it. While I didn’t hate this book I also didn’t love it and it was mostly because I didn’t connect with the characters at all. But first of all I need to talk about something. I know that a lot of people were not happy with this book because of the anxiety portrayal and because it kind of shows the guy as the girl’s savior. While I do think this book had some problematic issues it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Nevertheless, if this is something you think you won’t like or it will be an issue for you this book is not for you.

Anyway, I have a review to write and let me start what I liked about this book. I loved the writing. It was one of those fast paced books that was quite enjoyable and while I had a few problems with it I still enjoyed the story a lot and I think it dealt with some really important things. One of my favorite things was how it showed Petula’s, the main character, relationship with her parents and how they all were doing and behaving after her little sister’s dead. i just think the author was amazing on portraying how dysfunctional a family can get after such tragedy because let’s admit it, no on, but no one, will be the same after going through such tragedy. I also really liked to see Petula bonding with her group of friends. They were awesome and I loved how they helped each other going through whatever was happening or had happened in their lives. Sometimes I even wanted to read more about them.

However, there were still a few things I didn’t like a lot and one of those was Petula herself. Here’s the thing, I can understand what happened to her and why she became that way but I just couldn’t connect with her at all and that got to my nerves and frustrated me a little bit. I also didn’t connect with Jacob, even if I still think he’s adorable as hell, but that’s mostly because the book was told only from Petula’s POV and we didn’t know a lot about him. I did like their relationship and how it wasn’t instalove but it was too fast to me. I don’t think it was believable because someone like Petula would never advance so fast in her relationship after so little time. I also don’t think they would stay together for that long after the end of the book. You know how some books left an open ending so you can think how they would be years later?? Well, I think their relationship wouldn’t last not even a year due to a few things that happened.

I think I should need to issue the fact that some people think this book is problematic. As I said before some people think it’s not a good portrayal of anxiety and it shows the guy “saving” the main character. Here’s the thing, I can see why some people might think about it as a problematic portrayal because at some points Petula’s anxiety is seen as being quirky and she’s not being quirky. She’s a girl who has serious problems due to what happened in her past and who has to deal with said problems. Now, I don’t think Jacob saved her. He was involved in her development and in her getting better but he didn’t do it alone because it’s clearly shown in the book that when she does things she would never do before she’s not only with Jacob, she’s with her group of friends from therapy and, to be honest, they all help each other with their issues. There’s a part that kind of ruined this thought because one of the characters clearly said Petula that “Jacob resuscitated her” but if it wasn’t for it I would never say this was something problematic. As I said before, I think it’s important to talk about this because while it wasn’t something that problematic for me it can be for you.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book and I liked to read it. I might have had a few problems with it, and especially with the characters, but if this is something you think you would like you should give it a try.

Rating:

3 stars

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? If you haven’t read it would you read it?

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