Rummanah Aasi
  I'm thrilled that there are more and more books being published about mental health. This is a topic that we need to destigmatize and talk freely about, especially when it concerns seeking help, building empathy, and understanding.

Description: Vicky Cruz shouldn’t be alive.That’s what she thinks, anyway—and why she tried to kill herself. But then she arrives at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had. Yet Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up—sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide—Vicky must find her own courage and strength. She may not have any. She doesn’t know.

Review: After a failed attempt to commit suicide in her bedroom, Vicky Cruz wakes up in the psychiatric wing of the hospital. Exhausted and nearly catatonic, Vicky goes through the motions asked of her by the quiet but firm Dr. Desai. Vicky knows that if she just stays at the hospital for the mandatory time, she will try again to harm herself so she agrees to stay as long as needed for her own safety and joins a group therapy with other three young people on the ward. All of the teens in the group therapy have some form of mental illness which Vicky learns as we progress through the book.
   Unlike many books that feature teens and suicide, Memory of Light is solely about the recovery process. Vicky takes her time in understanding depression. She has always felt sad though it was exasperated by the loss of her mother. Through her interactions with a supporting doctor and her group therapy which features teens in similar situations and from all walks of life, Vicky evolves from someone who lacks emotions and has a bleak worldview to someone who is warm, strong, and able to fight for her needs. I loved the interactions between Vicky and her domineering father. Vicky's father has very high expectations and adds stress to Vicky's life. Though he means well, he has a very hard time understanding that depression is not an excuse for 'misbehaving' or 'being lazy', but an actual, legitimate disease that needs to be addressed.
  While the book excels on many levels, there are two incidents where HIPPA Privacy laws were violated that took me completely out of the story. I do understand that the reason to break the rules was made as a plot device, however, it is not realistic. Despite this flaw, Memory of Light is an important read because Stork's depiction of depression is not preachy nor romantic, but accurate, heartbreaking, and hopeful.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, allusions to sex, and underage drug use. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, Breath by Jackie Kessler, It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
2 Responses
  1. Kindlemom Says:

    I really love that there are too and I've read some pretty fabulous ones over the past year. This sounds like another great one.

  2. This does sound like a really important book that can help a lot of teens. Glad you liked it despite the HIPAA issues (that would have taken me out of it too)

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