Sunday, September 29, 2013

This Is How I Find Her

Author: Sara Polsky
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Released: September 1, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: No
Source: Library
Sophie Canon has just started her junior year when her mother tries to kill herself. Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother's bipolar disorder, monitoring her medication, rushing home after school to check on her instead of spending time with friends, and keeping her mother's diagnosis secret from everyone outside their family. But when the overdose lands Sophie's mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, from whom she has been estranged for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family's house is easy. What's harder is figuring out how to build her own life.
I love this book. It made me cry countless times. Much more than a story about living with a family member's bipolar disorder, it's about figuring out when it's ok to give and give and give to someone who really needs help, and when it's time to start taking things for yourself and step back from being the pillar that person leans on. Because it's really heartbreaking that Sophie has had to take charge of someone else's problems when she was as young as 11, and that she was never able to have a normal teenage life because of it. Of course, her aunt should have been there and she made some very bad choices herself, but even her aunt shouldn't have to deal with it, which by the end of the book everyone, including Sophie's mother, realizes. The other characters' interactions strengthen this idea, both Sophie's cousin Leila and their friend James. The most heartwrenching moment, though, is when some kids present an English project that should never have been approved, because regardless of whether anyone in the class has dealt with suicide, making jokes about such serious subjects is disgusting. This book has so many subtle (or not so subtle) "lessons," aside from telling a deeply compelling story about a young girl's journey to find herself and climb out of the debris that has been her life up till then.

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