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PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK DEALS WITH SOME VERY TRIGGERING ISSUES INCLUDING SUICIDE AND EATING DISORDERS.
ALSO, I CAN’T DISCUSS THIS BOOK FULLY WITHOUT INCLUDING HUGE SPOILERS.
It is emphasized again and again that these suicides are occurring because of the high academic standards and stress put on these students, which can be a cause for suicide.
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Let me begin by saying this: It has been a long time since I have been so very conflicted about a book.
If you have read this book, I really would like to discuss it with you.
One teen says to a friend at one point that he is concerned that he may be bipolar, but that topic isn’t really fully addressed.
Another teen has a full blown eating disorder, and that topic isn’t really dealt with in a way that I am comfortable with either (more on that in a minute).
And it’s important to point out that this is based on a true story.
I liked the idea of the creation of a community center, of training to learn the signs of suicide, of being more present and a better friend, just not the implicit message that somehow these teens could prevent suicide, because that’s not always how mental health works.
Stress is talked about a lot, but mental health issues less so, and I think it is irresponsible to talk about suicide without talking about mental health.
One character in particular really stood out as problematic, Mallory.
I just spent the last few weeks telling my teen that she could be present for her friend who was struggling with depression but that it wasn’t her fault and she couldn’t fix him, nor was it reasonable for anyone to expect her to do so.