Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.
Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.
Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.
And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.
In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.
4.30 average rating on Goodreads
Genre: YA, Drama, Realistic Fiction
This book is yet another tragic story written beautifully in prose poetry by the infallible Ellen Hopkins. Three troubled teens, Tony, Vanessa, and Conner all come from very different upbringings, but meet and become friends when they are all admitted to Aspen Springs, a psychiatric centre for young people.
I really liked that parts of the story were told from the perspective of each of the young people. I love when books are written from more than one perspective, so that you get to see the intimate details of the past that make each character who they are.
Tony, raised by a mother who never wanted to raise him, and ignored by a father who never bothered to know him, turns to pills to deal with his feelings. He is unsure of who he is, who he wishes to become, and how to love other people. Tony is an incredibly nice, friendly person, and we get to see him open more as he learns to forgive his father and figure out who he is.
Vanessa was raised essentially by her grandmother, since her military father was usually absent and her bipolar mother preferred the pill bottle to her children. Vanessa now finds that she herself shows symptoms of bipolar disorder, as well as depression (likely brought on by guilt of a rather dark portion of her past). She cuts herself for no reason other than to feel alive. In this book we see her seeking a close relationship with someone who truly cares about her (unlike her ex-boyfriend, Trevor, who just wanted to get in her pants), and affirmation that she has made good decisions in her life.
Conner, raised with his twin sister in a seemingly perfect household, with two perfectionist parents and a nanny, finds himself finally cracking under the pressure to be nothing less than the best. Conner has grown up starving for attention from a mother who never showed him any, and finds himself drawn to older, female authority figures. Though Conner desperately wants love and approval from his mother, he needs his parents to slack off the pressure and accept his depression, and if they don't, the consequences may be fatal.
I enjoyed reading this book but I wish there would've been more time to get to know each of the characters. Some of the plot twists didn't make sense to me (ahem, Tony and Vanessa), but the ending was a complete surprise that I thought was a perfect fit! I also thought Ms. Hopkins did a great job describing each of the characters' thought processes, giving them their own quirky personalities.
Although I enjoyed this book and plan to read the second one, Perfect, I probably wouldn't consider it a favorite, and likely won't reread it. However, Crank and Glass by Ellen Hopkins, I do consider favorites! See my review of Glass here: http://with-sugar.blogspot.ca/2014/04/book-review-glass-by-ellen-hopkins.html
Overall I give this book 3/5 stars, simply because it wasn't as amazing as I'd hoped for. If you are new to Ellen Hopkins books though, I definitely encourage you to read it as you will probably think it's fantastic.
Thanks for reading! :)