Posts Tagged: Mental Health

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Raw and Poignant Exploration of Mental Health: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

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A Raw and Poignant Exploration of Mental Health: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Krystal Sutherland
Genre: Contemporary, Mental Health, YA
Publication date: September 5, 2017
by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

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From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love—one debilitating phobia at a time.
 
Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can’t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.
The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.
Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.
Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she’d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.
-A copy was provided by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for review-

Everyone raved about Our Chemical Hearts when it came out last year but because my tbr is overflowing and I am always short on time, I never did get around to reading it. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares immediately caught my attention because it had such a cutesy title, cover & blurb but don’t let any of that fool you because this book will fucking break your heart.

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is such a raw, poignant exploration of mental health and I don’t even know where to begin unpacking my feels for those books. (But also, can we all agree that unpacking feels for books you love is so much harder than talking about books you hate?)

Esther Solar believes her family has been cursed and that is why they are doomed to have ONE GREAT FEAR that will take over their lives and eventually lead to their deaths. Her father is agoraphobic, her mom afraid of bad luck and her brother afraid of the dark. Esther may have many fears but she hasn’t quiet discovered the ONE GREAT FEAR that will take over her life and eventually lead to her death. Her way around this issue is to slowly catalog all her fears and to avoid everything so that nothing has the chance to become her ONE GREAT FEAR. I think we can all agree that isn’t the best idea either so when Jonah swoops back into her life, she is forced to reexamine her family, her identity and what she is really afraid of.

Let’s be clear though, this is not the kind of book where a boy saves in and saves the damsel in distress. The boy swoops in and steals $50, her phone and a fruit roll-up before he is useful at all to the mc. But also, just generally, Jonah and Esther have a give and take relationship that isn’t as obvious at first but becomes more obvious as you get to understand their dynamic and Jonah better (since the book is only told from Esther’s point of view.)

I love how beautifully this book dwells into mental illnesses and how it unpacks the many different layers of how it can impact one’s life. It doesn’t stigmatized and doesn’t romanticize what is going one while at the same time offers tools to the readers.

The characters in The Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, the relationships b/w friends, family & romantic interests and the exploration of mental health make it a strong package but also, the underlying tale of Death (the character) is so intriguing and adds another exciting dimension to the novel. Overall, this book is one you don’t want to miss out on and really, you should just push it to the tippy-top of your TBR if you’re in need for a book that will make you cry and laugh at the same time!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

A Semi-Definitive List of My 5 Worst Fears/Nightmares

A Semi-Definitive List of My 5 Worst Fears/Nightmares

Posted by on 09/18/2017 • 3 Comments

Hey hey hey! A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is an important book that addresses mental health/phobias so I decided to share some of my fears/nightmares with y’all. Things are about to get weirdly personal (but also a little silly because that’s just who I am so if you’re not into that, I say it’s time to close your browser or email and do something else.

A Semi-Definitive List of My 5 Worst Fears/Nightmares

1. When I was a kid, I developed an odd fear of heights that never went away. When I was a kid, it wasn’t that the height scared me but more that I would lose something or someone important to me. Now it’s both?

2. Dying alone. I know a lot of people will share this…

Giveaway: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Giveaway: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Posted by on 05/19/2017 • 23 Comments

Hi everyone! Today we are partnering with Paula Stokes to giveaway a copy GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE to one lucky winner! GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE was one of my favorite books of 2016 and honestly such an important book. It does such a great job talking about mental health issues and also has an incredibly swoony romance.

 

About the Book

Paula: Hi everyone! Girl Against the Universe releases in paperback on June 6, 2017 and I’m so excited about that I decided to do an entire blog tour of giveaways to celebrate! In the story, main character Maguire creates her own list of seven challenges to help her overcome her fears. This week I have seven challenges for you, and seven chances to win a shiny GATU paperback 😀 These…

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…

Reminicient of Breakfast Club: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Reminicient of Breakfast Club: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Posted by on 02/22/2017 • 4 Comments

My feelings about this novel as about as complex as they get. Optimists Die First does some really great things but also needs a whole lot of work. Keep in mind that this is all based on an ARC version of the book as opposed to the finished copy and ARCs and finished copies can be worlds apart.

For starters, this book is about as cute as it sounds and looks. It is short and sweet and all about friendships and journeys. As one character in the book says, Optimists Die First is a ‘twisted version of the breakfast club.’

There is a complex portrayal of MH without any real labels and that was great. Petula has to go to mandatory art therapy and kind of really hates it. She doesn’t like any…