Book: A Bitter Pill to Swallow
Author: Tiffany Gholar
Source: Author (this doesn't compromise my review)
The Basics: On the edge of the Chicago medical district, the Harrison School for Exceptional Youth looks like a castle in a snow globe. Janina has been there since she was ten years old, and now she's fourteen. She feels so safe inside its walls that she's afraid to leave.
Devante's parents bring him there after a tragedy leaves him depressed and suicidal. Even though he's in a different place, he can't escape the memories that come flooding back when he least expects them.
Dr. Gail Thomas comes to work there after quitting her medical residency. Frustrated and on the verge of giving up on her dreams, she sees becoming a counselor as her last chance to put her skills to the test.
When he founded the school, Dr. Lutkin designed its unique environment to be a place that would change the students' lives. He works hard as the keeper of other people's secrets, though he never shares any of his own.
But everything changes late in the winter of 1994 when these four characters' lives intersect in unexpected ways. None of them will ever be the same.
Sooo before I start the review I wanted to let y'all know that Perks will now and forever simply be a book blog blogging about booksih things. I decided to start a new blog called Of Roses and Rebels to blog about lifestyle things. So go check it out and give me a follow if you want more lifestyle posts from me :) Ok now on to the review...
I remember when I got this book in the mail. I was so excited to open it when I saw the cover and actually held the book I died a little. It took me a while to start reading it and this review is really late seeing as it is June. I had no real expectations for this book which Is probably the best way to approach books just because it's easier to be objective and true to the actual quality of the novel.
It was in my AP Spanish class during a free period that I started this book. I have to say the plot and the basic idea of the novel is amazing. I love that this book deals with mental health and the issues within that world. As a person with an anxiety disorder, I definitely appreciated having characters I could relate to and root for. I also really appreciated the fact that most of the main characters were people of color. That's not something you see in most books which is part of the reason that this book is so special and so amazing. Essentially this follows three people and their relationships and lives. The plot itself is innovative and pretty good. There was no plot holes so it was consistent and innovative. The characters experience so much strife and deal with a lot. I developed a lot of respect for them. I really LOVE that Gholar wrote about these things because it's easy to romanticize mental issues but I really appreciated that she tried to give a more realistic, gritty feel to the novel.
That being said I wasn't a big fan of the writing style or the characterization of the characters. I felt like I couldn't really connect to the characters and I felt like so many moments in the novel were exaggerated or just to cheesy for me. The set up to some of the characters actions took the seriousness out of those moments and made them a little bit cheesy. For instance, the romance for me was just no. While I think the relationship between Janina and Devante was cute and definitely got better as the book progressed I really didn't like the fact that it was instalovey. I would have preferred seeing them slowly get to know each other rather than just falling in love right away. I definitely would have appreciated their relationships even more.
I really, really wanted to like this book. And I did love it at times. However, I couldn't really get into it and get pass some of the awkward moments and cheesy bits. The book gets better the more you read, but the initial few chapter and beginning middle were a little harder for me.to get through.