Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.
Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.
Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mental Health/LGBTQ+
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
First Line: “You are not your anxiety.” (The chapter title is “Stupid Things People Say”)
One of the main reasons I finally decided to start this blog was because my sister and I won a year’s worth of Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) from a contest at our local bookstore. Which means I get to read at least one book a month that isn’t even out yet. But I had no idea what to do with these books and I felt guilty reading them and not doing anything to help the ones I liked grow in popularity. Now, though, I have this blog. So I can tell all you people about all these awesome books coming out in the new year!
This book is set to be published in February 2017. It is the story of Maeve, a sweet teenage girl who has severe anxiety. Maeve’s mom is headed off to Haiti to be with her boyfriend, who works at a clinic there, so Maeve has to go live with her father in Vancouver, Canada. That’s the simple part of Maeve’s story.
It gets more complicated when you add in the aspects of Maeve’s life that are especially anxiety-inducing, even for people that do not have an anxiety disorder. Maeve’s father is a recovering alcoholic/addict, her step-mother is pregnant and wants to have a home birth, something happened with her best friend and they are no longer talking, and Maeve meets a super cute girl who just keeps popping up–but Maeve has no idea what to say to her.
This book was one of those super easy reads; you don’t even really notice that you’re reading it because it is so easy to get caught up in. Carrie Mac addresses Maeve’s anxiety in a way that is realistic, but also entertaining. The obituaries Meave composes in her head are really quite funny (in a dark humor kind of way, of course). Nothing is filtered in this book which is good…unless your 12 year old sister has expressed significant interest in reading it even though it references sex and drugs!
Anyway, I love how Mac wrote Maeve and Salix’s relationship. It was sweet and heartfelt and all the things that are good about first love stories. The only thing I would change is that readers don’t get to know much about Salix. The story is told entirely from Maeve’s perspective, so Salix’s personal life isn’t brought up as much as it could be. Still, it really is a beautiful, clumsy, sweet, funny, and innocent first love story.
In all of the ARC’s I’ve received, there’s been commentary from a publisher or someone who works for the company that explains something great about the book. In this book, Kelly Delaney put one of my favorite qualities of this book into words: “This is a book about anxiety and a book about love, but it is not a book about curing anxiety with love.”
As much as I loved how Maeve’s anxiety was portrayed and the pure sweetness of the love story, I wanted to know more about the other characters. I wanted to know about Raymond, Maeve’s mom’s boyfriend. I wanted to know about Salix’s sister and mother. I wanted to know more about Maeve’s dad’s band. Maeve herself was very well fleshed-out, but the rest of the characters lacked the shining realness of the main character.
Overall though, this is a great read. It’s interesting and honest and has real depth to it, without losing the easy-to-read quality most contemporary young adult novels have. It’s definitely a book I would be happy buying when it comes out in February!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2017 is good for you all ❤