Thanks to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Mental illness is a very important topic that I don’t think gets discussed enough. And even when it does, it is overly simplified. This novel spoke to me because of its emphasis on mental health and the toll it can take not only on the person with the condition but also the caregivers. I was really excited for this ARC and I’m really glad I got the chance to read this novel. Here is my review:
Miranda, as the eldest, has always been the responsible one, her younger sister’s protector. Lucia is the vibrant one, the unconventional one, whose impulsive behaviour can be both charming and devastating. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it is Miranda who must take charge of Lucia – even as Lucia refuses to accept the doctor’s diagnosis. Determined to be more than just label, Lucia forges on with life, marrying a kind-hearted Israeli – only to leave him, suddenly, in order to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. With her new family, Lucia moves to Ecuador to start a fresh life – but she cannot escape her own mental illness. Miranda must decide if she will step in and help Lucia once more – but this time Lucia might not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?
This book was a very powerful story. Lucia is a creative and whimsical character – but she is also diagnosed with schizophrenia. Miranda, the cautious one of the pair, has always felt it was her responsibility to take care of her sister and ensure that she is getting the right medication and dosage. But this responsibility becomes an even harder burden to bear when faced with Lucia’s refusal to comply. I thought that the author did an amazing job of portraying how mental illness can affect an individual and the relationships that person has with others. This story is told from multiple perspectives, from Miranda to Lucia’s Israeli husband to the Latino immigrant to Lucia herself. Each offers their own story as they discover their love for Lucia – and discover her diagnosis and the struggles that come with schizophrenia. The author really took the time to show all of the facets of the disorder and the ways in which people can try to handle it. I found the story to be realistic and heartbreaking and beautiful and poignant. More importantly, I thought this novel did justice to the topic through a sensitive and masterful approach. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone interested in mental health and literary fiction. I’m giving this a 5/5 rating!