Returning to school after a suicide attempt and a stint in a mental institution is hard on sixteen-year-old Ryan. Every day he has to deal with his parents’ understandable paranoia and worry, strange looks from his classmates, and the reality of deciding to live again after attempting to take his own life. He befriends a girl named Nicki who asks him frank questions about his suicide attempt. Her father also committed suicide, and she wants to understand how he felt before he decided to do the unthinkable.
Ryan accompanies Nicki as she visits mediums, trying to contact the spirit of her father and come to terms with his death. As he does this, he begins to understand his own motivations better and move on from the in-between life he created at the mental institution where he recovered. Slowly, he and Nicki reveal more details about their own scarred pasts, working from deception to truth as their relationship deepens.
This book felt very real to me. I especially appreciated Ryan’s growing maturity as he realized how out of proportion his suicide attempt was in response to the event that triggered it. With compassion and without condescension, Jennifer Hubbard captures the all-consuming feelings that often swamp teenagers. This would be a great book for teens who could relate to it personally, but also an enjoyable read for anyone who likes relationship-driven stories or problem novels.
-Amanda Coppedge Bosky