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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Get Well Soon, by Julie Halpern

Anna Bloom is depressed—so depressed that her parents have committed her to a mental hospital with a bunch of other messed-up teens. Here she meets a roommate with a secret (and a plastic baby), a doctor who focuses way too much on her weight, and a cute, shy boy who just might like her.

But wait! Being trapped in a loony bin isn’t supposed to be about making friends, losing weight, and having a crush, is it?

In her fiction debut, Julie Halpern finds humor in the unlikeliest of places, and presents a character whose voice-and heart-will resonate with all of us who have ever felt just a little bit crazy.

I described this to my assistant as sort of an anti-Hopkins (Crank, Burn, etc.). Anna is real and honest and funny. I wish I had a wit like hers sometimes. The other characters are great—just as diverse as teenagers in a hospital like this should be. The problems they have come in with are legitimate. I love to see that not every teen with emotional issues is portrayed at the far ends of the spectrum—Anna is just depressed, she’s not cutting or being physically destructive. It does provide some hope and you do see that Anna sees the changes in herself. My only complaint is that all the kids seem to think, and never get past it, that they are there only because someone else (parents) wasn't willing to put up with them and their problems.

It would be GREAT paired with Hopkins’ Impulse. Contrasting the darker side vs the lighter side of being sent to a mental hospital.

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