Reality Check

The word crazy had never meant more to me than any other word in the English language. It wasn’t a curse, and it wasn’t derogatory in my mind. That was before my diagnosis. Now, the word felt dirty, cruel, and everything I was trying my hardest not to be.

In ten seconds Priya watched her lover, Dimitri get fatally wounded yet while she watched his life slip through her fingers. Except there’s only one thing: Dimitri never existed and was created by Priya in her mind as she has been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. While Priya is still mourning her loss and coming to terms with her diagnosis, her clinical team decides that she needs to learn how to be a normal teenage to find her footing in reality. They give her a checklist and with the help of her best friend Eli, she is able to discover that being a teenager can be fun and exciting. But as she finds success with checking things off the list, she also struggles with her own mind and being able to live life to the fullest with the good and bad. Will Priya be able to stay grounded in the real world or will she fall back into the one inside her mind?

This book really is a reality check and I was very impressed and glad to see Schizophrenia in YA book handled the way it was. I was a little nervous especially since I think Schizophrenia is misunderstood as a mental illness and sadly not done the way it should be. I found myself learning more about the disorder and that was something that I appreciated the author for including in the book. I think it’s important to provide readers with accurate information about mental disorders as it can help lessen the stigma and create a bigger conversation. But, it was interesting to see it in a YA book and while there is heavy subject matter in the book in addition to mental illness, there are also heartwarming, emotional, and light-hearted moments that help drive the plot. Priya is a very real and relatable character and you find yourself rooting for her to find a peace of mind while coming to terms with her diagnosis. She’s witty, funny, strong, and is passionate about what she wants to do with her life and not be defined by her diagnosis. Singh did a fantastic job as it showed that the things discussed in the book were detailed and thought out to be portrayed in a way that felt raw and very real. I highly recommend this book!

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