Parents' Guide to

Between the Bliss and Me

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Teen faces mental illness, falls in love in heartfelt tale.

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Kids say (1):

This thoughtful book gets high marks for handling mental illness with sensitivity, though it sometimes veers off into teachy and preachy territory. Exciting subplot, including forbidden love and a cruel acquaintance intent on getting under Sydney's skin add interest, but this story is all about Sydney and her efforts to understand herself and her family in light of the truth about her dad. Sydney's compassion and empathy for her dad and people like him is inspiring and models for teen readers positive, shame- and blame-free ways to think about these important issues.

While the author's efforts at examining mental illness from legal, historical, familial, and social perspectives is admirable, it can feel forced, with characters and scenes shoe-horned in for the purpose of teaching the reader about the largely ineffective mental health care system in the United States. The inclusion of socioeconomic class conflicts is also uneven, with some scenes and lines feeling contrived and stereotypical. Still, the steamy romance, likable supporting characters, and respectful approach to mental health and illness gives this novel wide teen appeal.

Book Details

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