Reviewed by Melanie on August 29, 2017
My feelings on this book are difficult to explain. Hunter has severe depression and suicidal tendencies. After a series of miscalculations he finds himself at Camp Sunshine, a camp for kids like him. This book is his adventure through Camp Sunshine in a quest he doesn’t realize he’s on. One about understanding, ownership, and learning a bit more about himself, and his “Problem.”
Cowan’s writing style is easy to read and enjoy. It’s not overly complex and captured my attention within the first paragraph. While parts of the story were difficult to read, these parts were written beautifully to give us a bit of insight into Hunter and how his brain works.
The story moves quickly. I spent maybe four total hours reading the book. I was quickly pulled in and woke up early to try and finish the book before work. I was anxious to find out more about Hunter’s incident and learn more about the other characters.
The plot seems to take a while to really get going even though it hints at things throughout. I feel like other than Hunter’s personal journey, there wasn’t a lot to the main plot line other than finally understanding what The Incident entails. Throughout the first half of the book there isn’t a lot of major conflict, but the last half has a lot of conflict thrown in throughout, making the ending of the book go quickly.
I have a lot of thoughts on the characters of the book. In a book about suicidal teens, you expect imperfect characters. The characters in this book are perfectly imperfect, and are well written and three dimensional. I understand that Hunter is the main character, and his is the story that we’re actually learning, but I was interested in the rest of the characters stories as well. The only back stories we learn are Hunter’s, Corin’s, and Counselor Kirk’s but I would have really liked to know more about Finley and Quint. Since Hunter just blew off Counselor Kirk’s story, I didn’t really understand how it added to the storyline, and why his story was shared, but no others.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was happy with the ending, finding it satisfying and appropriate for the book. While a lot of the “therapy” scenes were disturbing, I feel like the methods were well researched. As a person who loses herself in a book, if I hadn’t moved through it so quickly I could have easily developed my own dark cloud. The book gives a lot of insight to the stigma of mental illness, and how important it is to receive help.