It is such a treat to win a book from the Goodreads Giveaway! I entered in the contest for Optimists Die First thinking that my daughter might enjoy it. After receiving it, I decided to read it for my CanadianContent YA bingo square and am glad that I did! It was a quick read which deals with important issues at a time when so many students and young adults are struggling with mental health issues.
Petula and her parents had experienced tragedy. She reacted with fear of everything – germs, public bathrooms, construction sites, ground meat. She even kept a scrap book of fluke accidents that had led to deaths. She was forced to attend an art therapy class where she met a few other struggling teens. The teens agreed that the elementary school-like crafts did not meet their needs and slowly began to open up and shared their own issues with each other.
Petula slowly begins to take risks with the encouragement of Jacob, a new boy with a prosthetic arm. They spend more and more time together until a secret threatens their relationship.
Before beginning this book, I recognized the author’s name as my son, a reluctant reader had loved her book The Word Nerd! I expect that this book will be a popular YA book as well.
What did I like about this book? It was easy to relate to the struggles of today’s teens. This book will help the YA crowd to realize that although it might not be visible, everyone is dealing with their own set of challenges. It had positive messages and is a book that will make young adults think about helping others.
I had to chuckle that 2 of the cats were named Fred and Ginger. The significance of these
names will likely be missed by the YA readers. We too have a Fred and Ginger (unintentionally named) at our house and none of our kids realized the connection of the famous dancers. I also enjoyed all the book and movie references. It makes me curious to look up some of these books and I hope that this will inspire the YA readers as well.
I was so privileged to read the ARC of Optimists Die First and will highly recommend this book which is being released tomorrow. I will share this for my daughter to read next and look forward to her feedback.