Another Place by Matthew Crow

Received from NetGalley for review. 

2.5 stars

Even though I lost interest half-way through, Another Place is by no means a bad book; Matthew Crow has written about a teenage girl with depression with incredible realism and sensitivity, and does not shy away from the unpleasantness of it all. Although I found the actual plot too slow, I can only applaud Crow’s writing and the way he crafts his characters – every character was well-developed and had a unique voice, everyone had a purpose and something to add to the novel.

The story itself follows sixteen-year-old Claudette, recently released from a psychiatric hospital following a struggle with depression and a breakdown, and the disappearance of Sarah, one of Claudette’s classmates who seemed to exist within the darker side of society. The small town in which she lives is reeling from Sarah’s disappearance, as well as being unsure how to react to Claudette now that she’s out of hospital.

The good:
– Realistic depiction of depression in teenagers. I found Claudette to be a very real character; she’s only young and dealing with a lot in terms of her mental health, she has to learn how to cope with her depression and deal with the way it affects her life. I know that at sixteen I was not coping well, so Claudette being written as sometimes grumpy, listless, selfish, all felt authentic – mental illness sucks and should never be romanticised, and it hasn’t been here.
– Character interaction and development. The characters are brilliant, all their little quirks and nuances makes them feel like real people, and I loved the way Claudette and her dad interacted. So adorable.
– Hints at darkness. The story is set in a small town where everyone seems to know everyone, but there are hints early on at something darker going on within the town.

The not so good:
– Plotline. We know that Claudette has a breakdown, we know that Sarah has disappeared. After that there wasn’t much excitement for me – Claudette decides to solve the mystery of Sarah’s disappearance and delve into the town’s seedier underbelly, but I found it a bit slow and didn’t really care how things panned out.
– Fairly predictable plot. I mostly skimmed the last half of the novel and I wasn’t surprised how it ended, though this may not be the case for everyone.

Read: July 27th-30th2017

2/5 stars

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