A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 3.5


This was so fluffy – I loved it!
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That’s the thing about it though; there were so many “rom-com” parts of this I enjoyed reading, and although I loved reading about the interpretation of bipolar disorder, all in all it didn’t resonate with me much.

Mel is a sixteen-year-old with bipolar disorder, which she keeps a secret from her friends because she doesn’t want to be treated differently. When an old friend she had a falling out with confronts her again, Mel’s carefully crafted facade begins to crack, and this time, she doesn’t seem to be able to keep everything locked up.

I thought Mel was a pretty likeable character and her character arc was very powerful. There were several scenes between her and the love interest that I really thought were pretty cute. This was the type of insta-attraction (not insta-love) that I had absolutely no problem with.

I did have a bit of trouble with the way she kept track of her feelings, however. Mel nicknamed her heart, head, etc. with names like Hammerhead or Hummingbird, and though this was creative, I kept forgetting which corresponded to which.

The plot was definitely very thorough and thought out. I could definitely see how things progressed the way they did, and the conclusion really gave me a good sense of closure. However, I did think that there were a lot of themes in this book: coming-of-age, friendship, family, romance, and although I love all these things, after a while it began to feel like Mel’s bipolar disorder wasn’t main point of the story, but rather a catalyst for all these other things to get through.

I also kind of wish I knew more about the secondary characters. We saw enough of Mel’s old friends, but Holly and Declan, Mel’s current friends, had so little screen-time that I kind of wondered if they even had a purpose other than to act as Mel’s support.

Overall, I’d recommend this as a really quick but eye-opening read for anyone who was looking for a light contemporary read that touches upon mental illness. There was a great balance between seriousness and humor, and overall the writing style was pretty good – there were several lines that really hit me, but this was probably my favorite:

“I think it’s fair to say,” Dr. Dharni says, “that only people open to dying would be so careless with something so dangerous.”


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