Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. This book was amazing, the amount of quotes I highlighted throughout the book was ridiculous because they all spoke to me so much. So this post is going to be very long because of all the quotes I’ve included.
“This is how you deal with it … You cry. Sometimes you scream. You let out whatever it is you’re feeling, and you keep letting it out until you can breathe again”
Before I start my review here’s a little about the book from the Goodread’s page:
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that doesn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when an accident leaves her with a brain injury and terrible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble. Now, she’s broken on the outside, too. Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, she moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but things go from bad to worse when Jessa realizes she’s hallucinating bruises and scars on the people around her. She blames it on the accident, but as she gets better and the hallucinations continue, she begins to wonder if what’s she’s seeing could somehow be real. While searching for answers, she falls for Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and levity slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world — a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.
I can imagine many people will criticize this book as it is based around a mental disorder, and no one every agrees about the symptoms, improvement rates or anything else related to it. I believe this is because everyone who has experienced this or knows someone who has, experiences it differently. So saying that, I completely related to Jessa. Not in the sense of having a car accident and such but the panic and anxiety are something that are very familiar to me. I think Lauren did a great job at putting Jessa’s feelings and thoughts into words when even I struggle to explain how I feel to people at times. I do personally criticize the fact that it is never explained exactly where Jessa’s hallucinations come from as this is normally a trait of psychosis and associated with for example, schizophrenia. But for the sake of the book I assumed and went along with the idea of it being a coping mechanism and/or PTSD and/or result of brain damage.
Jessa is a very deep and interesting character. With it being written from her point of view, we get an insight into her mental process, her emotions and her fears. After the accident her fears are realistic, they feel real to me, I can imagine I would feel like that. And even though it is a book, I kept wishing for her to get through it and feel better. When Marshall came into the story I knew this was going to happen. A lot of people will say, oh love can’t heal mental disorders, but I believe it partially can. I believe it can make the person feel more safe and secure and feel better than they did previously. It might not be something that can completely heal, but it can get better. (Yes, I’m talking from experience), and this is what Marshall did.
Jessa doesn’t just heal because of Marshall though. She goes to a group therapy where she opens up, she has a man in a white coat help her and she has friends she can rely on. Her father is a lot more helpful than her mother was. I think all of these aspects helped Jessa. We never see her fully heal either, we see her massively improve.
That is exactly what there is. Hope. … Where the light is visible but we’re still in the dark, and the best we can do is believe that eventually we’ll get there and hold each other’s hands until we do. There may not be calm or certainty or confidence, but there is hope. That tears aren’t forever. That one day all things will be new.
Marshall is such a great character, he is funny, blunt but also open to hearing Jessa’s story. He compliments her and makes her feel good about herself. Their friendship is cute, their relationship is even cuter.
Hannah’s character, I think, will get some mixed reviews. She was b*tch for some parts, I do have to admit that, but then, I find that realistic. That is what stress will do to you, and considering she was on pills, I’m guessing those will do that too (wouldn’t know that about these pills). But we see a good side of her as well, being a friend to someone who really needs a friend. We see her struggle with her own problems later on in the book and find she also needed Jessa just as much as Jessa needed her.
This book has a lot of deeper issues than just love, friendship and anxiety. With Jessa ‘hallucinating’ bruises, burns and scars on people’s faces we come to understand that these are based on the people’s feelings. Jessa, in the end, believes she can see their soul. It reminds us that even when people put on a happy face, a lot could be wrong with them, that they could have underlying issues and be hurting inside.
That’s the thing about the invisible world, I guess. Where souls get battered and minds get muddles and hearts get broken again and again. It’s a war zone, a disaster area, but no one wants to talk about how messed up things are, so we let each other pretend. We play along, we act like we’re all okay. But we’re not okay, and all the junk we’re hiding is right there, right in front of us, right within us. The brokenness, and the desolation and despairs. We tell ourselves it’ll get better if we just ignore it. But wounds don’t work that way. Leave them open, and you’ll bleed out.
I didn’t really connect with the whole angel aspect as I’m not religious and don’t really believe in these things. I do however believe that everyone has a person that is looking out for them and trying to help them. I never really looked at this character as an actually angel, but just another person who helped someone else through something.
One thing I did find a shame in this book as that psychologists and psychiatrists are portrayed very negatively which could influence people who read this and are struggling themselves, not to go to one. I have to admit I haven’t had the best experiences with them, but I had one counselor who was wonderful and helped me loads.
This book was a very quick read for me, it kept me hooked and I really connected with it. I definitely suggest reading it. It will be released on the 1st of August 2017.
Love Mallory x
*I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.