A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Book - 2017
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In the vein of It's Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places , comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm's length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel's compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst--that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she's been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful , Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First , examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

Publisher: New York : Poppy, Little, Brown and Company, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780316260060
Characteristics: 278 pages ;,22 cm.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Sep 11, 2018

Mel is a sixteen-year-old girl that is constantly hiding her bipolar disorder from her friends in fear of them rejecting her, just as her last one did. While working at a nursery home, she meets a new patient’s grandson and falls for him. However, the one thing keeping her from getting closer is the one constant fear of if he knows the real Mel, he’ll leave her. Mel goes through depression and mental illness and along the way learns about acceptance and how truly wonderful it is. I really enjoyed this insightful novel that also educated me on bipolar disorder. I really enjoyed how each chapter began with animals describing her emotional state and thought it was really creative. Mel was a little less likable to us, readers, because of the frustration we may feel towards her, but I think that just made it more real. It made me feel as if she was an actual person in my life. Yes, we may get frustrated and angry at the people in our lives, but in the end, they’re just human and that’s how I feel about Mel. The romance was tragically beautiful and I really recommend this novel. Rating:4/5
@Iron_Rose of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

samcmar Jul 26, 2018

I had a weird relation with this book as I was reading it. In fact, for such a short book I had put it down for six days without reading it because something within its contents gave me a reason to. I won't lie to readers, Mel is a challenging heroine -- she's very distant from the reader, sometimes to the point where you never feel like she's going to be open enough either. I hit a point with her where I was frustrated and it caused me to put the book down.

After some internal monologue and a few days away from the book, I picked it up again, determined I needed to see it to the end given I have this habit that I don't like to give up on people or fictional characters apparently. I am happy I saw her story to the end.

Lindstrom's writing has a very simplistic quality to it that makes it very engaging. Mel is so into her own mind, thoughts and feelings that she doesn't see beyond the world. She's so focused on the death of Nolan, the guilt and anxiety that is present within her and its to the point where everyone she's ever loved has been pushed far, far away from her. I can relate to that. Sometimes it's on purpose, other times its just done unconsciously. My frustrations with Mel came from seeing myself in her and I think it's why a part of me avoided this book for the while that I did.

Mel's illness is rough, but her reactions and responses are so realistic, right down to the friends she keeps. I really liked the way Lindstrom handled the teenage drama in this book because the responses didn't feel melodramatic, but rather on point. People do blow situations out of proportion, some people do try to be an alpha in a friendship, some people will try to take all the attention for themselves -- all these reactions felt right in place with the story. I felt so angry with a lot of the characters in this book because none of them every stopped to look at the bigger pictures, which again shows a lot of strength in the story being told here.

There are parts of this book that I think will make readers uneasy at times, but I do think A Tragic Kind of Wonderful offers some wonderfully realistic characters trying to seek light in dark places. It is for those who wish to understand those with mental illness, and what Mel feels throughout the story sheds a lot of light on the stigma of mental illness, even if she s a character can feel really infuriating at the same time. If you like deep contemporary YA, this is definitely worth checking out.

Cheryl_JHL Oct 19, 2017

Bipolar is not a black and white "highs and lows" sort of disorder - it has a spectrum. The main character's journey through her diagnosis and her path to self discovery are enlightening. I love her journalling exercise and how she breaks down the different parts of her moods/energy level/state of physical being so that she can keep track of where she is.

I am grateful to read a book that helps defuse the stigma attached to bipolar and break down the elements of it so that it is easier to understand.

The story itself is a good story and the character is likable. It also could be a good lead-in to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

ArapahoeStaff1 Jul 13, 2017

If you don't know much about bipolar disorder, and what it looks like before it's diagnosed, this book is perfect for you. It's a little difficult to get through, because of some tough topics, but if you stick with it, you will be enlightened!

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