Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Expected publication: July 4th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Mental Illness
* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions are, as always, my own.*
Fans of More Happy Than Not, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story will cheer for Adam as he struggles with schizophrenia in this brilliantly honest and unexpectedly funny debut.
Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.
Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.
I love reading books featuring different types of mental illnesses and this is the first one I read featuring schizophrenia. I didn’t have any expectations for it, and I read the synopsis quite long ago and I didn’t remember what it was even about. But I was hooked from the first page!
As you may know, schizophrenia is quite a difficult illness. It’s basically a mental disorder where the person can’t distinguish real from unreal. It’s never the same with anyone, but the symptoms can vary from hearing voices no one can hear, seeing things no one can see, delusion, confused thinking, lack of motivation, reduced social/ emotional expression… which can lead to other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety; and even addiction.
It’s an illness that requires a lot of help. There’s is no cure, although there’s a lot of medication that can be used, and the trick is to try to find the one that fits better with each person. Without that, it can lead to harm to self or others and even suicide.
It affects mostly male’s in their late 20s, but our main character is 16 years old. Adam is a very strong, intelligent and (dark) humoristic person, and although I couldn’t connect with what was going on, I sympathized with him with all my heart. Adam is lucky enough to have a family that really worries and protects him, but that’s not enough to make others see what a good person he is.
People are often afraid and prefer to just step aside than to try. But when he moves to a new Catholic school, the kids don’t know anything about him, and he has the opportunity to be “normal” in their eyes, while he is in a drug trial.
He gains two friends and they are really great and different characters. Maya was a character I was very fond of. She is the type of person that says everything in her mind as it is. She is rational, decided and incredibly intelligent. And although less humoristic then Adam, I had a great time reading about her.
But the key part about this book has to be Adam’s illness. Both in a good and a bad way. It’s quite emotional to read about but at the same time incredibly funny and interesting! I absolutely love dark humor and Adam is the king of it! He is the type of person that doesn’t want pity from others neither does he pity himself. And although the humor may also be a protection for Adam, I think it’s the best attitude anyone could have!
The book reads like a diary, and each entry is a made to give to his psychologist about his week. It makes it feel incredibly personal and gripping. We see everything through his eyes and it’s impossible not to get emotional. This book made me cry my heart out a couple of times and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you like reading books featuring mental illnesses!
Have you read any book about schizophrenia? What did you think about this one? Let’s discuss in the comments below!