My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finley is an 11yr old girl, who sometimes has blue days and is afraid to tell people how she really feels. She’d rather lose herself in her writing, about a made up world she treats as real. She is dealing with her parents’ plans to divorce, and they drop her off for the summer at her grandparents’ house with the side of the family she’s never met(crazy idea to me, but in real life, grown ups do crazy things). Amidst her unexplained sadness, she does have adventures with her cousins and they all grow to love each other deeply. But there are family secrets in the supposedly wonderful family.
This book reminded me of parts of my childhood. I had more of a stable home life, but I struggled with fear in certain situations. I also played with cousins and we made up stories and imagined living in Narnia. I also got in big trouble once for following a kid through a nasty wooded AND flooded area, with my cousins. (ha-What was I thinking? It was in Florida, alligator land.)
As an adult, after having my first child, I experienced depression and anxiety. It was gone after a few weeks, blame the hormones. But then a few years later, a health problem(non-cancerous or life threathening) made me spiral into those feelings. I have fought them periodically now, but have help thanks to modern medicine! It’s heart-wrenching to read about a child feeling those feelings.
Perfectly put inner thoughts while suffering: Finley reminds herself over and over that she has no right to feel sad. She reminds herself of people who have worse lives. How can she feel sad when so many people love her? —The problem is, those reminders don’t make depression go away. They just make you feel broken. Just trying to feel happy doesn’t help. There are various things that CAN help. Seek help. Tell your parents. Tell a counselor. Tell a doctor.
Parents, be aware of your child’s feelings and don’t hide things to make it all seem perfectly fine when it’s not.
Loved this story! It was not all sadness and worry. There were very sweet cousin and family moments.