This a a frequently requested novel and I decided to see why it was so popular. A lot of times I don't quite get why people like the popular books (Twilight did nothing for me) but I really enjoyed this book. It was wonderfully written and a powerful story. I can see why teens request it.
Callie is staying at Sea Pines or Sick Minds as the patients call it, because she is a cutter. For the first part of the book she is resistant to treatment. She's not violently resistant, but she just goes through the motions and refuses to talk - therapy sessions are going nowhere. In the meantime, she pays attention to the other patients. Most are on the road to recovery, but some, including Callie, can't kick the habit. One night, after Callie cuts herself and realizes it doesn't have the same affect, she turns to her therapist and finally accepts help. The next part of the novel explores the deeper aspect of Callie's family life and how her mother is focused on her sick brother and her absent father and how that possibly led her to cut. This section also includes the blossoming connections between the patients and their roles in each other's lives, especially when one patient takes a downward spiral. In the end, Callie has to face what it means to honestly get help for herself.
One thing I found interesting about this novel is you can hear Callie telling this story to you. She refers to the therapist in the second person - you - and you (the reader) really feels like she's talking to you. This writing technique really draws in the reader because you've become a part of the story. I didn't exactly like the therapist, however. Maybe she didn't fit my image of a therapist because I didn't really feel like she understood simple things about what Callie was saying. It was almost like she played dumb, but yet it didn't look like she was playing. It might all just be a strategy to allow Callie to do the talking, but I felt that some meaningful advice or interpretation was left out. I wish the father was developed a little bit more. I'm a little lost on his relationship/role in the family. I think I know, but I wish it was clearer. Beyond that, the novel was fantastic. I really became involved with the characters - even though at first it seemed like there were too many people to keep track. I wanted to see them - Callie especially - succeed and get better. And then, of course, it has the hopeful ending that should ideally inspire others in similar situations.
I don't know why teens ask for this book. Maybe they relate to Callie or have just heard it's a good book. Either way, I definitely think it's one that's worth reading.