By: Emma Lawson
Length: 305 pages
Published: September 2, 2017
When 17-year-old Gina Taylor is given a writing project as part of her English class, she begins to write down everything and anything. Through her words, she tells a dark story. The story of a secret that she never intended to tell – the story of her secret battle with a monster. A monster that lives inside her head. Gina’s monster is evil and dark, it dictates how she lives and what she feels. It’s called anxiety. Slowly, it’s beginning to tear her apart and there’s only one way out; let the monster win.
As Gina’s life crumbles around her, the mysterious and handsome Flynn McArthur appears in her life. He’s determined to break down all of Gina’s walls and help her fight her monster. But Flynn has his own secrets that are threatening everything that he and Gina have built together.
Can they overcome their demons together?
Sometimes when you read a book you wish you would be a character, just for a few minutes in their lives, just a few. I can’t say that it’ll be the case with this book. Not once did I say I wish I was Gina. Now I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say. But really with the life that Gina lives and the monster she is dealing with, I’ll pass gladly. I must admit that prior to reading this anxiety was an illness I knew of but never understood how it truly affects a person. Lawson presented anxiety in the most diabolical way to help understand its true meaning.
Whiles this book is stated to be for the age level 12-18 don’t turn a blind eye to it. Because this could be a very valuable resource for parents and counselors as well. Anyone who knows a person who has dealt or dealing with any inner demons themselves will appreciate the fact that it is told as it really it. There is no sugar-coating, patronizing or beating around the bush so to speak.
You watch Gina break down, you watch as anxiety takes over her life. Reading in the format of a diary was hard for me to get into at first but by the time I finished I sat and thought, this is right. This is how this should have been written. From Gina’s perspective. You get that to the fullest. What started out as an assignment for English-class became something much more. I know what you think….This sounds a lot like 13 Reason Why… Yeah, I can see why you would think that. High school student conversing about her life for others. But really the only similarity stops right there. This book is in its own league and will cause you to open your eyes to an unseen illness, that many passes off as person being lazy or emotional ( which after reading this I’m pretty sure my oldest daughter may suffer from).
Personally speaking, I’ve never dealt with anxiety, it wasn’t until I reached adulthood when I learn a friend of mine has been dealing with it for so long. And now things make sense. It makes so much sense. Being in high school is hard enough but then topping it off with anxiety, my goodness that takes a strong person to fight that demon along the way.
Gina learns threw her assignment and the meeting of Flynn that she isn’t the only one with monsters. Flynn the new guy comes to scene relatively early. STOP RIGHT THERE. Don’t go thinking oh so this guy just fixes everything for her. What kind of solution is that? Some guy shows up and now it’s all better. It’s not like that in any way. This is not your usual teen drama or young adult. The relationship between Gina and Flynn act as a counterbalance to the relationship between Gina and her mind. Gina has some very high walls and it takes more than a prince charming to help them crumble.
Emma Lawson did an exceptional job at capturing an unforeseen illness and putting it into words. You’ll be mesmerized by the strong subject matter, the debacle of Gina and her monster, but most importantly you’ll be made aware that just because you can’t see an illness doesn’t mean it is not real and affecting those around you.
Hats off to Lawson for creating this masterpiece.