I won’t lie, I have been in a bit of a reading slump. It has been about four months since I last read a book, and that has Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns which was truly spectacular. But after I finished it, I just wasn’t entirely sure of what was my next read. So I just didn’t read anything. During this lockdown I have been trying to get back to doing the things that I love, the things that I was too tired to do after work and dinner because all I wanted to do was go to sleep and be ready for the next day of work. I kind of just went into this cycle, and I pushed a lot of things that I loved away, including writing for this website. So now that I have plenty of free time to try and get back to what I know and love, I thought it was time to finally start reading again.
I have been following Callie Robertson on Instagram for about two years now — @byckrobertson — I followed her as she was going through the writing process and eventual self-publishing for her book. This is probably the first book that I have ever gotten to have a small insight into the full production of it. I thought that this would be the perfect book to help me get out of my reading slump. Described as a mix of Perks of being a wallflower and Looking for Alaska I knew that it wouldn’t take me long to get through. I have always found books that have a focus around mental health and the people that help them to deal with it have always been incredibly comforting to me. Probably because of my own mental health issues and the healthy support system that I have managed to create.
The story follows Cooper, a sixteen year old boy who suffers from severe anxiety. He has learned to live a life in the sidelines, keeping to himself until he meets a new girl at the school, Whisper. She is everything that he isn’t — outgoing, friendly and a person who is isn’t afraid to live her life, or so it seems. This novel deals with some incredibly intense and sensitive issues, but in a delicate and understanding manner. I had an understanding of each character, they were so distinct and beautifully written. The fear and the anxiety that surrounds Cooper, although on the more extreme end of the scale, is so honest about the crippling struggle that this illness can cause.
Each moment in the book felt real, it didn’t feel like I was just reading the pages of the book. It felt as though I was there with these characters, watching, crying and cheering for them. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I just couldn’t put it down.
I look forward to seeing what other stories Callie Robertson creates.