It’s hard to write a funny book about depression. First, well . . . Duh – depression is depressing. Second, humor can make depression look a lot less painful than it really is. I felt like Whitney Taylor managed to walk the thin line between the two in Definitions of Indefinable Things. It is hilarious, but it is also pretty honest about the realities of depression. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of that balance, so this is a solid four star read.
This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.
Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.
Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.
I like my leading ladies savage and snarky, and I’m not sure any character is more savage and snarky than Reggie. Watching her navigate the ridiculousness of her life is so worth your time. The thing I liked most about her is that, while she lashes out, she really does have a heart. She cannot overcome her innate goodness, even when spewing venom. Now, this is an unflinching look at depression. If you have never had it, you will walk away understanding exactly how it feels. If you have, I think you will recognize the black hole. But what really makes this book amazing is that it is also a look at life getting better. It isn’t a fairy tale. Things aren’t perfect or quick, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So, don’t skip it just because you don’t want to read something depressing. This book is so much more. While the language and situations are frequently mature, I think it will speak more to my high school students about the unbreakable human spirit and believing in the good things life has to offer. I’m adding it to my classroom library wish list. Grades 10+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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