Page Count: 248 Published on: May 2, 2017 Published by: KCP Loft Genre(s): YA, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health, Tragedy, Coming of Age Source: Print: Paperback --ARC via Publisher Age Rating: YA
My Rating: 4.5 stars
It's just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it's anything but. She's received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai's life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide. Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai's parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a "grief camp" for children. Though reluctant to go, once she's there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she's able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Kim Turrisi's beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book's appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai's authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.
I was sent an advanced reader's copy of Just A Normal Tuesday towards the end of last year by KCP Loft for an honest review. When I first picked up this book, I knew it would be a hit or miss for me. Suicide is such a touchy subject and to write a story so skillfully is very difficult. This book was beautifully written and I really enjoyed the characters and the setting of this novel. Their stories were so touching and you can tell that this is a personal project for Kim Turrisi.
The characters in this book were very complex and each person had a story that you could somehow connect to. Their emotions were very raw and realistic that really pulled the reader in. Each character had a different way of dealing with their grief which was what really drew me in. Kai, in particular, was one of my favorite characters. You could feel the desperation that she felt after her sister's death, although she didn't really learn from what her sister did, you really do feel the emotions that Kai is feeling. Her raw desperation for her sister and her panic about how she should have seen the signs were so realistically done. It was really great to see a character that wanted to stop the bad habits that they pick up. It was great to see that she understood that her sister wouldn't want her to dwell on what she couldn't control. Kai wanted to heal, but she still wasn't ready to fully let go of her sister.
It was really interesting to have a book mainly focus on the healing aspects of grief. I really liked how the councilors were actually educated and understood what the kids were going through. They gave some really solid advice that I could see was working. It was really cool that it was a grief camp for kids and teens. One of my favorite parts was when Kai met the little boy who's mother passed away. I think YA fiction likes to just focus on how teens are affected by death and kind of neglect how little children would react and deal with the death of an important family member. Death, divorce, abuse...it affects everyone. I really enjoyed the interactions the teens had with the little children. I think it's an important subject that needs to be discussed in literature.
I have three sisters, my twin, and two younger sisters, and I literally could not allow myself to get emotionally attached to this book otherwise, I would be attacking my sisters with love. Which would be awkward for them...I'm sure...you know, without context. One of the most influential fictional deaths in my life was Fred Weasley from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was absolutely crushed when Fred died. I bawl my eyes out every time I read that scene and watch it in the movie. Because I have a twin, I totally understand how George felt when Fred died. My sister, Sarah, had cancer for a good chunk of her life, and to think I could have lost her back then totally breaks my heart. Whenever I read books like this, I can't help but connect it with the hypothetical deaths of my sisters. I would not be able to cope, so I really connect with Kai's grief. Even now, I cannot let myself think about my sisters dying. I would be broken. I totally feel for Kai. She was such a raw character.
The only reason I gave this book 4 stars was because I didn't enjoy the romance. It was really cliche and too predictable. It was great to see Kai happy with someone, but it was just not for me.
Other Books From KCP Loft:
- Keeping the Beat by Marie Powell & Jeff Norton
- Textrovert by Lindsey Summers
- Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant
@LivTheBookNerd on Books