A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful by Eric LindstromA Tragic Kind Of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful

byEric Lindstrom

Hardcover | February 7, 2017

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In the vein ofIt's Kind of a Funny StoryandAll the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm's length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel's compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst--that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she's been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

InA Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimedNot If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

Eric Lindstrom is a BAFTA and WGA-nominated veteran of the interactive entertainment industry. He is the author ofTragic Kind of WonderfulandNot If I See You First.
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Title:A Tragic Kind Of WonderfulFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.62 × 6 × 1.12 inPublished:February 7, 2017Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316260061

ISBN - 13:9780316260060

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from a solid exploration of bipolar disorder; could've been more interesting with a trans protagonist. In my grand list of new February releases to check out, this one wasn’t a particularly high priority. But after RoseBlood, I needed a quick palate-cleanser and A Tragic Kind of Wonderful happened to be instantly available at the library. I will say right away, I’m always so excited to see contemporary YA authors confronting mental illness in a raw, honest, and meaningful way. And although bipolar disorder seems to be a hot topic in contemporary YA over the last few years, I feel like I definitely learned more about the disorder reading this than I expected. It doesn’t feel nearly as lovingly written as All the Bright Places was, given how short it is, but it’s undoubtedly well-researched. And because it was so well-researched, all the coping strategies put in place felt very true to life. As someone who’s gone to therapy for mental illness, I saw my own experience in main character, Mel’s interaction with her own therapist and how she puts her coping mechanisms in place. What’s more, she has a stable, productive, and positive relationship with her therapist, something that isn’t always portrayed in YA, depending on what aspect of the struggle with mental illness any given author is trying to address. (Jennifer Niven, for instance, looks to highlight how adults tend to shrug off mental illness as irrelevant.) So I think it’s nice that even though it’s mentioned that Mel’s been through a handful of therapist she hasn’t liked, at the point the novel takes place, she’s finding a routine with this therapist that does work for her. Even nicer still, the novel opens with Mel already aware of her bipolar disorder, and with her coping mechanisms in place. It’s that day to day dealing with mental illness as part of a narrative that I enjoy. I know my experience and many others’ is being represented. And that’s a great feeling. All the subplots in comparison feel very secondary to the mental illness. There are several plots and twists being woven into this short narrative (it’s less than 300 pages long) and in the end, none of them really feel like they matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s as if Lindstrom wanted to write a novel about bipolar disorder, with bipolar disorder as the main character. Everything’s kind of frazzled and all over the place and nothing quite fits together until the end. None of the characters quite feel fully realised and I didn’t quite care about them as a result. Given that, the more I think about it, the more I feel like this story would be more interesting and groundbreaking if the protagonist were a trans boy. Throughout the novel, I kept reading Mel as a boy (and often forgot her name entirely). The only real thing that differentiates her as a girl is the fact that she’s on her period throughout the novel. But who says she can’t be a boy struggling with this same issue? There is certainly a lack of trans protagonists in literature in general and menstruation as a genuine issue for trans boys is an even rarer discussion in the media. Men rarely write in such detail about women and menstruation in fiction, and it’s already shocking that Lindstrom’s doing it here, and making an important plot point out of it. He’s not making any statements about how periods control girls’ behaviour. Instead, he’s addressing a very real fact that menstrual hormones cause imbalances when paired with bipolar medications. While I think it’s great that he’s going there with a female protagonist, I would’ve liked to see him go one step further. That’s not to say the whole menstruation plot is the only reason why I’d cast a trans boy as the protagonist. There’s also a lot of discussion about sexual identity in this novel. There’s talk about being gay and out to your friends, and bisexuality, and how this is a valid way to identify. And again, it’s doing fine as is. It’s already going a lot further than many narratives go in terms of that discussion. But there’s a Mean Girls-type subplot, which is almost overdone at this point. Granted, the queen bee who drops her best friends because they’re not cool enough for her anymore is a very real social issue that happens again and again and again in high schools. It’s happened to me and it’s happened to other girls in my life. I personally think writing Mel in as a trans boy would’ve slotted well into that bullying plot, and done something new with it. I like to hope trans kids have at least some people in their lives to support them, but there is always going to be that one person who refuses to accept who they are, and would cast them aside for not being something they can control in their lives. I just wanted this story to be bigger, and saying larger things. I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading this novel. In fact, if you’re someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, or knows someone who suffers from it, I’d say give it a go. It offers an interesting insight into the everyday experience of living with a mental disorder. Who knows? You might learn something from it.
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I am sitting here just about to write a small review. But apparently, that isn't going to happen because less than a week after first reading A Tragic Kind of Wonderful I'm drawing a blank on this book. That sure as hell doesn't bode well. Here's what I remember liking; the positive representation of therapy and drugs. The MC has bi-polar disorder and as important as I believe having mental illness and health shown in YA in different lights; I believe it's even more significant to show teens that getting help is okay. Therapy and the proper drugs do save lives. So yes, having a YA book dealing with mental illness is vital but even more so having one where the MC is already living and learning and having ups and downs well getting the proper help is even so. Parents, well her mom was very present. MC had some very solid adult figures in her life. Which is fantastic. Representation and diversity solid. Otherwise, the book is unfortunately not a standout. As mentioned above my memory is drawing blanks already. Being in the story I was turning pages like no one's business. Just turns out that this one is ultimately unrememberable.
Date published: 2017-02-11

Editorial Reviews

"An engaging and fast-moving plot that foregrounds Mel as a person who maintains a strong ethic of kindness even and especially when [she's] down, making her a bipolar poster child fully worthy of reader sympathy."-BCCB