Saturday, March 23, 2013

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens

Pages: 240pgs

The Story

When Jason Milwaukee’s best friend, Sunshine, disappears from the face of the earth, the whole town, including Jason, starts searching for her. But the insistent voices in Jason’s head won’t let him get to the heart of the mystery—he’s schizophrenic, and the voices make it hard to know what is real and what is not. As the chase becomes more panicked, Jason’s meds start wearing off, and he is looking more and more guilty. But of what, exactly?

Both brilliantly witty and intensely honest, this poignant novel draws upon the author’s many years as an adolescent psychologist, but it’s Vaught’s powerful voice and expertly crafted mystery that will keep the pages turning.

The Review

A big thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy of this book!

This book is definitely one of the most interesting and special reads that I've read so far this year. The whole aspect of mental illness, how it's presented and how it all affects our main character really sets off this quite unique voice and - even to my own surprise - I really enjoyed reading this book immensely.

Jason, our main protagonist, suffers from schizophrenia and he is constantly hearing voices (and strange thoughts as well) even though he's medicated to stop them. But when a girl he knows and deeply cares for, a girl named Sunshine, mysteriously disappears out-of-nowhere, Jason's world is soon flipped upside down and makes his constant struggle between being on medication and being off it that much harder for him to handle.

Now I really liked Jason's character. You really felt for the guy. But while some may find his prose a little hard to get used to, but personally for me I found it completely riveting and it's great seeing things in a completely different light than of your regular teenager boy. He just had this honest and real emotional side to him that I loved and I think a lot of readers will love him too. And as for the remaining characters including a selective mute, Sunshine, and a ADHD named Drip, I thought they were pretty well done too and really hits the mark for me.

Overall, FREAKS LIKE US cleverly combines the mystery-thriller genre with a very strong - and sometimes subtle - psychological element that is, in my opinion, executed perfectly in its own prose. Sure the book maybe a shorter read for some and perhaps a little unusual for its genre, but I definitely can see many people liking it too because it's different. And I like different.

The Rating
4/5 stars

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