Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane

Zander isn't your average "at risk" sixteen-years-old girl. She gets straight As in school, has a boyfriend, speaks fluent French, and until one recent slip-up was a star swimmer on her swim team. Zander's parents are frustrated that she seems content to live in her own head, sometimes disappearing into herself for hours at a time. Their solution is to send her to a 10-week summer camp hundreds of miles from home. At this camp, Zander thinks she doesn't quite fit in- these are the kind of "at-risk teens" with real mental problems- depression, eating disorders, cutting, possible future schizophrenia. This can't possibly be the place for her. The camp motto is "The only way to be found is to admit we're lost." Zander doesn't feel lost. She knows where she is and where she wants to be: nowhere.

I really felt like the title of this book was misleading and that was likely due to a publisher (or someone down the production line) hoping a love story would interest more YA readers than anything else. I think this is an underestimation of readers in general and YA readers specifically. This book did involve a budding romance, but what this book was really about was Zander struggling to face the world and the unexpected friendship she gains in the process. Do publishers think that all girls care about is if the main character gets the boy? Romance, true love (at sixteen!), the possibility of a teen love scene. Give readers more credit that there is more in life, and in the lives of their readers, than boys. Maybe they felt like a book blatantly about mental illness wouldn't attract readers and it would be better to sneak it into what they thought was a Contemporary Romance. I liked this book, but that disappointed me.

On another note, what do you think it says that the last 3 out of 5 books that I've read have contained a theme of mental illness? I didn't even know that's where some of them were headed, so it isn't as if I had sought them out on that basis. Is the book universe trying to tell me something? If I answer back does that mean I'm definitely crazy? Surely not, right? Right?? Eh, I'll just enjoy the ride either way.

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