Disclaimer: I partnered with Usborne Publishing in organizing a PH-based blog tour for Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne. Huge thanks to Usborne Publishing for providing a copy for review. This didn’t affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Reading Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes is like being held up in a room of explosives, waiting for them to blow up on me.
Trigger warning: This book talks about sensitive topics about mental health, mentions self-harm, childhood abuse, and suicide ideation.
Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes is painfully real and honest. Holly Bourne never sugarcoated anything about this book. It’s pure, raw and blunt. This, by far is probably the most challenging for me to absorb among all the books I have read from Holly Bourne… in a good way.
Olive’s character, the MC of this book, wasn’t meant to be likable. Don’t expect a lovable character, because you’ll get extremely disappointed. Getting into terms with Olive requires a lot of patience, understanding, and empathy. She’s having a hard tie dealing with her mental issues because she doesn’t want to get “labeled”. She doesn’t want to know her diagnosis, so it wasn’t mentioned until later in the book.
She had an episode early in the book, which resulted for her to get into Camp Reset, a teen residential camp for brain wellness. At the camp, she met other teenagers that also deal with their mental health issues. Sophie and Hannah are both experiencing OCD, Jamie is struggling with substance addiction, Gabriella with an abusive childhood experience, and Lewis, the math geek, who often feels left out.
Related book review: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne book review – A book that tackles OCD.
A very informational YA book about mental health
This shouldn’t be a news. Because if it’s Holly Bourne, she doesn’t hold back with the technical stuff and well-researched information about mental health. I won’t talk about what type of mental disorder is the main focus of this book because it will be a spoiler. But the way Bourne expressed it through Olive’s character is intense. And that’s how it should be. There’s no other way to put it, but be real about it. I’ll be honest, this book may have made me frustrated and has kept me on edge so many times that I had to put it down for a moment and take a breath. It was so intense, that I have to take a moment to absorb things.
Mental illness can be terrifying especially for someone who suffers it. I even told my friend how afraid I am to be like Olive, or just by thinking about having a messed up brain like Olive. I personally know someone who struggles with mental health issues, and Olive reminds me of her at some points. She always beats herself up by saying how bad of a person she is, and how everything is her fault. And this is one of the most important lessons on this book: BE KINDER TO YOURSELF.
There’s one quote that struck me.
You don’t have to stop looking after yourself just to help the world. In fact, sometimes it’s better for the world if you put yourself first. That’s not being selfish, in fact, looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love.
This is book is important.
It has a lot of important messages about mental health that shouldn’t be ignored. Personally, it helped me understand more things about mental health issues especially about the mental disorder that was highlighted on this book. It also gave me a clear view of how a person’s brain who suffers with mental illness works. Yes, it can be really messed up and in haywire, but this made me realize how hard it is for them more specifically.
People with mental health problems will do things that “normal” people may not understand or may come off as illogical, but for them, it’s the most logical thing. It was discussed in the book how the mental illness of some teens from the Camp Reset were caused by their surroundings (childhood abuse, bullying in school, family issues, etc.). It was then pointed how it is easy to judge other people without really knowing them or what they’re going through. Olive did it with the other teens, and soon when she learned more about them, she realized her mistake about judging them.
Olive was so firm about the idea of being able to fix herself that she refused professional help so many times. She was so afraid to be labeled so she kept it going on until she crashed. If you feel like there’s something wrong with you, don’t be afraid to seek for help.
Please be kinder to yourself. Life is hard enough, and recovery is hard enough, without you beating yourself up for being you.
The overall message of this book is outstanding. It can impact many people’s lives, that’s for sure. The ending was a bit lacking for me personally, but it didn’t affect the message of the book, and lessen my feelings about this book in general.
Holly Bourne never disappoints.
PS, PROTECT. SOPHIE. AND. LEWIS. AT. ALL. COST!
Selfish isn’t always a bad thing, Olive. It gets a bad rep. Being selfish can sometimes be the most selfless act there is. It gives you the strength to really help. Sometimes you need to put you first and get fit and strong so you can go out and save the world when you’re in the best shape to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Holly Bourne writes YA novels and blogs about feminist issues. Her favourite things to complain loudly about are: the stigma of mental health, women’s rights, and the under-appreciation of Keanu Reeves’ acting ability. Holly’s first two books, Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, have been critically acclaimed and translated into six languages. The first book in the ‘Normal’ series, Am I Normal Yet?, has been chosen as a World Book Night book for 2016 and has inspired the formation of Spinster Clubs around the country.
Before becoming a full-time author, Holly was editor and relationship advisor for a charity website.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
August 9th (RELEASE DAY)
If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis, please don’t be afraid to seek for help. To my fellow Filipinos, you can call 804-HOPE (4673) or 0917-558-HOPE (4673). For international suicide prevention hotlines visit suicide.org.