4 out of 4 stars
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For as long as he could remember, Eddie has had an ongoing battle with the “Hunter.” That’s the name he’s given to the voice of despair and depression constantly whispering disparaging words and soul-crushing comments in his mind. On the outside, Eddie seems to have it all together; athletic, loved by girls, adored by his younger brother Trent, bad at math, supportive circle of friends, and even gets to date his crush. But sometimes, the brightest smiles hide the greatest pain. On the inside, the “Monster inside his head” is tearing him apart at the seams.
Unhinged is a story with a mental health awareness theme that I am convinced will resonate with teens and young adults. Like many people, young and old, Eddie tries to battle his demons on his own. Multiple real-life experiences have proven time and again that depression and anxiety are serious health problems. The author, Steve Galley, highlights the fact that seeking professional help for mental health issues is very important. Just as one cannot wish away physical illness, mental illness also cannot be ignored into oblivion. Having a support system is essential too. Various fun activities with his friends provided Eddie with a few cherished moments of escape.
The setting is in modern-day Canada, and the main characters are teenage high-schoolers. The author’s descriptions of the places and people are very realistic and relatable. Dysfunctional families, teens struggling to fit in with their peers, struggling to get good grades despite so many personal and home issues, making mistakes and feeling overwhelmed by them, the list goes on. Plus, I loved the ending.
Perhaps what I loved the most about this book was the fact that I could reconcile most of the issues the characters faced with issues both myself and the people around me face. From Eddie’s friend Jess and her problems with her no-good boyfriend Jimmy, to Rob, who Eddie looks up to, but who has problems of his own too. I also appreciated the celebration of friendships. Eddie’s best support system were his friends and girlfriend. It’s a refreshing opposite to the tired old narrative of bad friends leading the protagonist down the path of ruin.
There is some very mild swearing in this book, and very few grammar errors. However, I still think it deserves all 4 out of 4 stars, and that’s my rating. Lest I forget, did I mention teenagers and young adults?
*Publisher's Note: Based on this review, the book was edited to remove the swears.
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