Title: Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back

Author: Alicia Cook

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

The Blurb

Sorry I haven’t texted you back, I’ve been so anxious and depressed I haven’t had time to catch my breath, you know how life gets!

Returning to the form of Stuff I’ve Been Feeling LatelySorry I Haven’t Texted You Back is a poetic mixtape dedicated to those who struggle or have struggled with their mental health. Divided into two parts, “Side A” holds 92 poems, titled as “tracks,” and “Side B” holds the “remixes,” or blackout-poetry versions, of  those 92 poems. The book includes the evergreen themes of love, grief, and hope. Named after Cook’s viral Instagram poem, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back lands in the crossroads of self-help and poetry.

The Review

Sorry I Haven’t Text You Back is a powerful set of poems that has poet Alicia Cooks figuratively bleeding on the page. She gives her all in this collection and leaves you in no doubt as to how she is feeling. She takes the theme of mental health and uses poetry to help you understand. 

It is a shocking, powerful and moving collection of poems which needs to be digested slowly and allow yourself time to fully digest the meanings behind the poems. 

It also comes with a kick-ass soundtrack to accompany it.

Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back by Alicia Cook is available now.

For more information regarding Alicia Cook (@the_alicia_cook) please visit instagram.com/thealiciacook.

For more information regarding Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel) please visit www.andrewsmcmeel.com.

Title: Furiously Happy

Author: Jenny Lawson

Pages: 329 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

For fans of David Sedaris, Tina Fey and Caitlin Moran comes the new book from Jenny Lawson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Let’s Pretend This Never Happened… 

In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. As Jenny says: ‘You can’t experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.’ It’s a philosophy that has – quite literally – saved her life. 

Jenny’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. Furiously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. And who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

The Review

In Jenny Lawson’s book, Furiously Happy we learn about daily struggle with her mental health. This kind of subject is hardly new but what is refreshing is Lawson’s unashamedness about her condition. There is so much negativity surrounding the discussion of mental health that here Lawson is saying ‘hello, look at me and my stonking issues’ and I personally feel we need more literature like this. 

Furiously Happy helps to take away the stigma and the sting of mental health and provides a fresh perspective on mental health and how personal acceptance can be very helpful. Besides being really enlightening, Furiously Happy is just damn funny. The situations that Lawson finds herself in had me chuckling aloud and getting some funny looks because I couldn’t keep the laughter inside. 

A very funny look at a very serious subject.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson is available now.

For more information regarding Jenny Lawson (@TheBloggess) please visit www.thebloggess.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Out of Love

Author: Hazel Hayes

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Unbound

The Blurb

A novel for anyone who has loved and lost, and lived to tell the tale.

As a young woman packs up her ex-boyfriend’s belongings and prepares to see him one last time, she wonders where it all went wrong, and whether it was ever right to begin with. Burdened with a broken heart, she asks herself the age-old question . . . is love really worth it?

Out of Love is a bittersweet romance told in reverse. Beginning at the end of a relationship, each chapter takes us further back in time, weaving together an already unravelled tapestry, from tragic break-up to magical first kiss. In this dazzling debut Hazel Hayes performs a post-mortem on love, tenderly but unapologetically exploring every angle, from the heights of joy to the depths of grief, and all the madness and mundanity in between. This is a modern story with the heart of a classic: truthful, tragic and ultimately full of hope.

The Review

When a book has floored me, like truly floored me I usually start my reviews with ‘Every so often a book comes along…’ and I was tempted to start this review the same way but Out of Love by Hazel Hayes needs much much more. It has been nearly 24 hours since I finished reading it and I am still sitting in a state of shock. A post book malaise. A ‘where do I go from here’ness. It was just that bloody good.

It is a relationship book which is the kind of story I like driven by a fantastically flawed protagonist. The story of Lena and Theo is their relationship in reverse. Now, I’m generally a purist when it comes to stories. I like a beginning, a middle and an end and when writers deviate from this or deviate from grammar rules I get very stressed out. However, I loved the narrative choice of Out of Love. It is told in reverse and little nuggets of information is scattered throughout that become relevant earlier on which is in later chapters. Sound confusing? It should be but it just isn’t. Holmes’s magnificent writing makes it work. I am genuinely so very impressed with it.

It is also so very enjoyable when a story opens up new things for you, it could be a reference to another book or music. You get that with Out of Love. It is also one of those books that has those rare ‘profound-drop your-book-and-stare-at-the-wall moments littered throughout. I just loved it.

I can honestly say that Out of Love is going to be one of my books of the year. It will be going on my for-keeps shelf and I am pretty sure it will make its way into the hands of my friends for birthdays and Christmas.

God, I just bloody loved it!

Out of Love by Hazel Hayes is available now.

For more information regarding Hazel Hayes (@TheHazelHayes) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Unbound (@Unbounders) please visit www.unbound.com.

Title: Johnny Ruin

Author: Dan Dalton

Pages: 185 Pages

Publisher: Unbound

The Blurb

Depression can be hell.

Heartbroken and lonely, the narrator has made an attempt on his own life. Whether he meant to or not he can’t say. But now he’s stuck in his own head, and time is running out.

To save himself, he embarks on a journey across an imagined America, one haunted by his doomed relationship and the memory of a road trip that ended in tragedy.

Help arrives in the guise of Jon Bon Jovi, rock star and childhood hero. An unlikely spirit guide, perhaps, but he’s going to give it a shot…

The Review

Okay, I will admit Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton confused me. It was in the best possible way. I mean how many books that discuss mental health use a mystical figure of Jon Bon Jovi as a spirit guide? Not many, I can tell you.

The story is about a man struggling to deal with his mental health – this is at its very base level but what is developed throughout the narrative is that our protagonist looks at the things that have happened in his life that have been catalysts to his depression or t the things that have led to his depression. It looks at how mental health problems are not quick fixes, they are constant and rolling and you will have good times and bad times. It looks at how the pit of despair can be so vast that you can only see the darkness and not the light at the end of the tunnel.

Chock full of metaphor and allegory, Johnny Ruin is a great short read for anyone who is able to suspend their disbelief. If you struggle with that then Johnny Ruin may not be for you. If, however, you wish to get a more in-depth look at depression then this may give you a small insight into what it is like for one person. 

Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton is available now.

For more information regarding Dan Dalton (@wordsbydan) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Unbound (@Unbounders) please visit www.unbound.com.

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life-and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

The Review

Cath is your typical 18 year old girl starting college – except she is terrified. She has always had her twin sister, Wren to fall back on. She is the confident one with the social skills that Cath has fallen back on. But now Wren has decided she wants to spread her wings and not to be constantly seen as part of the twin duo anymore and Cath is devastated. Cath has to figure out who she is without her sister’s help.

I love Rainbow Rowell’s books. There has not been one that I have read that I have been disappointed in. She has a brilliant voice for YA fiction. Fangirl is another fantastic example. It I a coming of age novel – my favourite kind – about self discovery and it accurately shows the realities of attending college and the mental strain it can put on people and also the how difficult it can be to find your place.

I really sympathise with Cath. She just seemed like she was spinning so many plates that the entire emotional crash was inevitable. Besides issues of mental health and anxiety, Rowell presents a whole host of other issues for us to bask in such as first love, family disconnect, alcoholism, abandonment. Fangirl really is a multidimensional novel.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is available now.

For more information regarding Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) please visit www.rainbowrowell.com.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com.