I had high hopes for this novel. I mean, when the summary says that it is a little Recovery Road, a little Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and a bit of Juno, my expectations are going to be high.
I liked the idea of the two authors writing in alternating points of view. Both narrators have both landed themselves in Heartland Academy, a somewhat swanky mental hospital for teens. Justin, still dealing with his parents’ divorce, gets caught in a compromising position with a girl, and takes a handful of Tylenol. Emmy, adopted from China, has a hard time fitting in with her “perfect” family. She is struggling with an eating disorder after a rather personal photo of her gets spread among classmates and Emmy threatens the boy who shared the photo. Along with a diverse group of motley characters, they form an unlikely friendship that gives them support and leads to one fateful night of freedom.
Here is what preventing me from enjoying this book: the dialog. One thing that drives me crazy is when young adult authors use a lot of slang or “dumb down” the language of teenagers. I spend all day with teenagers, and they do not talk like this! They are more intelligent and well-spoken than they are given credit. I don’t think Justin or Emmy or any of the other characters were unintelligent, but they were written in such a way that made me cringe.