Friday, July 28, 2017

Four Weeks, Five People

*This post contains affiliate links. I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own*

I am kicking myself in the rear that I kept putting this book off. It wasn't a "scheduled" review, which means I'll get to it once I finish all of my firm scheduled books. I've not been shy with my own struggles with mental health so when I got into this book, I was absorbed. I could identify with the feeling of these kids and it tugged at me for that, but also as a mother.

Four Weeks, Five People - Jennifer Yu

They're more than their problems

Obsessive-compulsive teen Clarissa wants to get better, if only so her mother will stop asking her if she's okay.

Andrew wants to overcome his eating disorder so he can get back to his band and their dreams of becoming famous.

Film aficionado Ben would rather live in the movies than in reality.

Gorgeous and overly confident Mason thinks everyone is an idiot.

And Stella just doesn't want to be back for her second summer of wilderness therapy.

As the five teens get to know one another and work to overcome the various disorders that have affected their lives, they find themselves forming bonds they never thought they would, discovering new truths about themselves and actually looking forward to the future.

I have to just mention first, before I forget, how pretty this cover is. I watched a video on how cover art was created and decided on, and so much work goes into that so I feel like talking about the cover is worth it.

The story centers around five teens, all with different disorders and struggles, who are sent to Camp Ugunduzi to basically get help. Their families have reached the ends of their rope, they don't know what else to do so they decide a therapeutic camp for four weeks is the next best option for them. Clarisa has OCD to debilitating levels but she's so anxious. Mason is a narcissist and I think at the core, he doesn't want to be the way he is but he truly can't help it. He's unnecessarily cruel and authority doesn't appreciate him and he doesn't appreciate them. Ben.. he was the most strange (to me), he believes he's watching a movie, everything around him is a movie. He's obsessed with movies and narrates his life. Honestly, he was the hardest one to really learn to like. Stella is... well she's there for the second time (which makes you wonder how effective this camp is from the start) and she hates life in general. Andrew is a rock star, (a real one) but he is anorexic and his life is in danger because he isn't doing well.

This feels like The Breakfast Club meets the amazingly under-rated shoe Hey Dude. Each kid is so wildly different from the other so you aren't sure they'll get along but somehow, they do. I have to come out and say my biggest problem with the book is how much drinking these kids do. To me, a therapeutic camp is not to place to pick up a drinking problem. It's mostly instigated by Stella, who is so angry with the world, it's not hard to realize she's using drinking as a way to cope with her issues but is unable to see that it's not actually helping. Is it realistic that a four week camp will seemingly cure, or fix, any of these kids? I don't know. I do know that a lot of in patient therapy things are about that length and they don't promise to fix you, but to give you a different perspective and some tools to help cope and get through things with continued counseling.

My favorite character was Andrew because I felt like, out of all the kids there, he was the one who truly was at a rock bottom, and he was willing to make serious changes. He knew going in it was going to be hard but you felt like he genuinely wanted to be better. Least favorite character was Ben, only because I didn't understand his issue. He's a sweet guy, socially awkward, but he at least recognizes his shortcomings (unlike Mason, but that's the nature of his problem).

Overall? I'm giving t his 4 out of 5. Not because I think it's amazing but because these characters are endearing. I can imagine the feelings they had going into this, and as a parent I can only imagine what it would be like to drop my kid off and hope for the best.

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