I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!
First off, this is an #ownvoices novel about Lily who is ADHD (like the author) and Abelard, her boyfriend who fits somewhere on the Autism/ Asperger’s spectrum. Lily is your typical teen except she loses stuff, can’t remember things, and her mouth moves as fast as her brain does. She also has impulses, which leads her to kiss Abelard when they are mutually in trouble in the office one day after accidentally breaking a wall.
Let me tell you what I love about this novel:
Lily’s ADHD is spot. on. My fiance has ADHD and I am a teacher who has to deal with the problems in my students like the problems Lily has. Besides having ADHD myself I have seen the effects of ADHD up close and personal in many different settings. For my students, them taking their medicine or not is the difference between an A+ and an F. For my fiance, it is the difference between going to work or skipping. ADHD is mostly talked about in teens and children and this book really puts us to thinking about Lily’s future as an adult.
I got on Goodreads at 2 AM after I finished this book, to rate it, and noticed all the subpar reviews because of the ending of the novel which was so discouraging to me because I thought the ending was kinda perfect.
Here is my take…which gets a little spoilery so if you want to read this book, come back and read the rest of my review later.
SO THE END. A lot of people on Goodreads said the end made it seem like Lily should have to change to be accepted and I don’t think that is what the author intended at all in this book. In the novel, Lily is presented with a surgery that could tone down her ADHD so she could function a little better, and have a better shot at college and a bright future. Her parents and friends and boyfriend all have their own opinions and Lily is spinning in circles because she just wants everyone to be happy, including herself. In the end she decides to do what is best for her, and she believes that that is having the surgery.
Now here is where I disagree with the Goodreads reviews: having a surgery to reverse a disability or to help it out is NOT CHANGING YOURSELF. In this fictional surgery, an implant is placed in the brain and Lily is told this will not change her personality or even get rid of her ADHD altogether. I kind of viewed this like a prosthetic leg, it helps you out, but doesn’t get rid of the disability completely. People with ADHD are more likely to not be able to hold a job, finish high school or college, go to prison, and live in poverty. Medication helps, but as highlighted in the story IT DOES CHANGE YOU. I watch my fiance take this medicine and it erases his ability to eat and alters his moods. He gets irritated and angry and depressed. If there was a way to tone down his ADHD without the effects of meds, he would take it. The surgery in this novel seems to not exist by the way, I did a lot of research. If you can find the research to show me this surgery exists, please let me know.
Let me put it to you a different way, I suffer from anxiety and depression, as a lot of people do. I also have chronic migraines. These two things combined keep me from work sometimes. I am so weighed down by this that I cannot physically get out of bed and go to work. If someone told me they could implant something to tone all of that down I would be ecstatic. Saying ADHD is a part of someone and to get rid of it is feeling like they have to change is not acknowledging that it is a brain disorder that makes that can make a person suffer. So I don’t think the author was trying to say that Lily needed to change and that’s why she got the surgery, I think she was saying that if you are presented with an alternative future, a chance to better yourself, even if there are consequences, it is your choice to be bold or to play it safe.