A Million Little Snowflakes – Logan Byrne.
Such a beautiful cover.
When I saw this on netgalley I knew I had to have it. Apart from the Madness Underneath, its the only book I’ve actually desperately wanted to be approved for. Not because I knew anything about it or the author, but because of the blurb which is probably why I feel so disappointed.
Oliver Hurst has always been abnormally normal.
His grades are horrible, his best friend just left for Utah, and he’s depressed. His overly religious parents don’t help, especially since they control every facet of his life. One stupid sentence said in desperation gets Oliver tossed in an adolescent psych ward, where his depression and fears become even more of a reality.
When Oliver meets snide, tough girl Lacey Waters he doesn’t think his life could get any better, that is, until she becomes the ray of sunshine he has desperately needed on his cloudiest of days
Being someone who is interested in the human psyche and having spent their time at university under the care of a councillor due to their mental state, I am endlessly fascinated by books about young people dealing with some kind of psychiatric issue. I’ve had Winter Girls and Its Kind of a Funny Story on my TBR list for an eternity and I can still vividly remember the profound effect that reading the Bell Jar had on me. My God, that bok really encompassed what its like to lose yourself in irrationality. I identified with that book far too much (probably because I’m a writer who is scared of everything and has spent time as an intern in a big city.) and I’m always looking for something that can awaken a similar feeling in me. It is a shame then that this fell spectacularly short of the mark.
I didn’t get on with the narration of this at all. It lacked depth. Far from coming across as someone spiralling into depression with the fears and irrational notions of someone struggling with such things, Oliver came across as being a bit whiny. Given the fact that his family are so religious and he’s given a mini exorcism to help him through his difficult time, I thought there would be a little more oppression, loneliness and well… A general bleakness to the prose.
Instead Oliver alternated between moaning about not knowing how to cope now his friend has moved and he’s failed his SATS and reminding himself how lucky he is. I didn’t feel any sense of emotion and that kind of ruined it for me. Oliver didn’t read like someone who was depressed. Lost and unsure? Yes. Depressed? No. Having experienced the effect that manic depression has on someone, there really just wasn’t anyway that I could get through this without being a tad judgemental.
That was problem number one. Problem number two was its general lack of reality.
Over dinner, Oliver blurts out that he wants to kill himself, so his dad just drives him over to a hospital psychiatric ward and the next day, without seeming to examine him or spending any longer than ten minutes in his presence, he is declared to be bipolar. Like I said, I’ve witness bipolarity first hand and Oliver did not come across as someone with depression of any kind. I don’t know how these things work in Chicago, but in England getting admitted to a psychiatric hospital is incredibly difficult. Perhaps Oliver’s doctor is telepathic, perhaps I missed something. Either way, that riled me up, so I knew I wasn’t in for an easy ride. That’s before we even get onto the fact that this book is set on a teen psychiatric ward in which none of the patients even swear, let alone exhibit any troubled behaviour, or the instalove between Oliver and Lacey.
I don’t like giving bad reviews or bashing authors, I know how hard it is to write a book, let alone to get one published and not everyone can like everything – this fact doesn’t mean that the thing itself is bad. I just think that personal experience clouded my judgement of the book.
That being said, there were some wonderful bits of dialogue from Lacey in particular and I felt the opening few pages were very strong – with a few tweaks, the narration could have really worked. I understand that being depressed is more akin to feeling numb than being emotional, but I think the lack of colour really let it down. Those genius moments from Oliver and Lacey could have been laced throughout the whole book and could have made it so much better.
The ending was frankly brilliant, I didn’t see that coming at all, although it wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as it could have been.
This was provided by netgalley for an honest review and is available now.