Release Date: September 1, 2009 (re-print)
About the Book: Anna Bloom has just been checked in to a mental hospital. Her parents think she's depressed, maybe even suicidal, and overweight. Anna doesn't really know why she's there, she's got a roommate with a fake baby doll baby, a demon-possessed teen in her group, and a cute boy she can't stop thinking about. Mental hospital's are not the place to make friends and find love...are they??
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: When I first started my job as a teen librarian one of my teens told me she had just read this book and enjoyed it. I always kept it in the back of my head as something to read, but never got around to it. When I found out Julie Halpern was going to be at ALA, I knew I had to read it before then!
I'm so glad I picked it up. Anna gets through her mental hospital stay by writing letters to her friend, so you really get to see the whole experience through Anna's eyes. Some novels work for me in letter/diary format and others don't. This one works wonderfully. It's a coming of age novel in an unusual setting and I found it totally engaging.
I love Anna's voice-she's smart, sassy, and totally empathetic. I felt her pain, got frustrated with her doctors, and fell in love right along with her.
I really liked the cast of characters Anna is surrounded by. You get to understand where these teens are coming from, why they ended up where they did, and are drawn into their stories, even if there's not much information given. I think that's where Ms. Halpern excels-she doesn't need to give you an entire background story of each character to get you to really care about them. I didn't want to leave them, or Anna herself, when the novel was finished.
And there's romance-I love the romance in this book!! Again, it's not your typical romance, but I think that's what makes it so sweet and wonderful. I was sighing and smiling.
A great read-for fans of quirky books, humor and romance. (I've seen it recommended for fans of Carolyn Mackler as well)
And yes, I did get to meet Julie Halpern at ALA and not only is she an awesome author, she's a very cool librarian too!! She totally rocks!