It's so difficult to review a book when you have such a personal connection to it. I have a feeling that a lot of people have a personal connection to this book.
Fifteen-year-old Craig is like a lot of teenagers. He's stressed out, failing to keep up with the demands of a tough school, and feeling the pressure to succeed in life. After he stops taking his depression medication, he ends up in a psychiatric hospital.
This is going to sound a little weird, but Craig is the most realistically depressed fictional person I've ever read about. Admittedly, I haven't read many books about severely depressed people, but I can tell that the author had a deep understanding of depression and anxiety. At the beginning of the book, Craig is a very relatable character. A lot of people have been in his place.
This book is different from other books about mental illness that I've read. In those books, there is one event that causes the character to become mentally ill. This book isn't like that. Craig isn't depressed because he's traumatized. He's depressed because he has depression. He has school-related stress, but he can't point to one single traumatizing event that caused the depression. He has a nice family and lives in a good neighborhood. I like that aspect of the book. Sometimes illnesses just happen to people. The illness isn't anyone or anything's fault.
The rest of the book isn't as good as the first part. The romances aren't very interesting. Craig's voice doesn't feel as honest or authentic in the second half of the book. Sometimes the book tries a little too hard to be funny. In the edition that I read, there are noticeable typos.
The first part of the book more than makes up for all of that. I love this book.