I still can’t quite figure out what to think of this book. It was decidedly very different from books I’ve read before, because, as the synopsis implies, it looks at the perspectives of people who were away from all the real actions. The people on the sidelines of the exciting story. The ones who aren’t the heros on some journey to save the world. They’re just… themselves, living in the world where it happens. It was an incredibly smart approach for Patrick Ness to have taken and I like that he adventured into such a perspective. An undiscovered perspective.
He also took a look at how, even though we might not all be the heros of some big story intent on saving the world, we’re all still starring in our own story. And we’re all still our own hero. We have our own problems to overcome and conflicts in our lives that matter just as much to us as saving the world might to some other big hero. And that doesn’t make us any less special. Patrick Ness made sure we knew that with this book and this story.
The narrative language of the main character also caught me off guard. There was absolutely nothing formal about it. It was literally like the character himself had wrote it in his own casual voice. It reminded me a bit of how Adam Silvera did that with his characters in They Both Die At The End. It’s refreshing to really feel like you’re speaking to the character instead of just hearing his story. It makes it all feel more personal and like you’re closer to the character; as a confident instead of a reader.
The characters in this story having the various different mental health issues that they did added a layer of awareness to the story. You learned about what it’s like to live with those problems that are out of your control in ways that you otherwise wouldn’t. It took you deeper into the mind of those people so you feel their helplessness and their pain and their struggles. And you get to watch them overcome it with pride. Or at least, you get to see them learn how to start overcoming it and it’ll make you feel warm all over with happiness for them.
Personally, I found this book to be a really quick read. I finished it the same day I started it, a few hours later. It was one of those books that you can breeze right through and while the topics discussed are impactful, it’s still a pretty light read overall when it comes down to the plot. It’s a really good book to read when you just need a break and something simple to settle down with, as a breather between hardcore, complex novels.