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Released: March 20th 2015
“The ups and downs of Lucy’s life here were emotional and difficult to read, but I think a very valuable read for anyone looking to understand mental illness.”
~ Under the Covers
Justice Serai’s Mental is young adult novella that examines the life of a teen girl committed to a residential psychiatric facility for the daunting diagnosis of schizophrenia. Lucy is an artistic, religious girl, the pride of her successful and well-off family, until she undergoes a schizophrenic break. She’s now in a prison of her own mind, afraid of the color red, the devil’s influence, and even venturing outside. When she meets the enigmatic and attractive Julian, she realizes that life might not be so hopeless after all.
I read Mental in about 2 hours flat. Lucy’s character is very well fleshed out, from her experiences as the only child of a high powered family, to the details of her break, to her experiences on the inside of a psychiatric facility. I have personally (as an observer) spent a fair amount of time in a state-run institution such as this, and I really have to give credit to the author for portraying the experience realistically for the outsider. The ups and downs of Lucy’s life here were emotional and difficult to read, but I think a very valuable read for anyone looking to understand mental illness. Julian becomes her savior, the bringer of hope in the future. Until meeting Julian, Lucy feels she will never feel what “normal” teenagers feel. To experience new love through her eyes was really well done. Julian remained a bit of a mysterious character for me, not fully fleshed out. I’m not sure if this was the author’s intention or not, perhaps to make us feel what Lucy feels, but I do wish we had his perspective throughout the experience, to have the details of his placement in the facility explained better. It took me some time to warm up to him and trust him. I believe readers will be happy with the outcome. Was expecting something dark, but you should now this is not a dark novel, despite its title and mood. It’s actually a story of hope. This was a great read for me in between my usual fare (which almost never includes teen fiction). I would recommend it to anyone looking to understand serious mental illness better, but need a ray of light to keep them going.
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