Words on Bathroom Walls

Reviewed by Melanie on July 4, 2017


This book is about Adam, a sixteen year old with schizophrenia. Out of all the mental illnesses out there, I feel that most people don’t talk about schizophrenia and that adds to the stigma. My first thought when starting the book that is essentially a journal was that it reminded me of one of my favorite books when I was younger, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. I love the format and that it’s easy to move through the story, constantly learning more, but really seeing the progression of time throughout the story overall.

Adam, like most teenagers wants to be normal and guards himself from those outside of his family. This book is his journal to his therapist as he participates in a drug trial for his sickness. Reading through Adam’s journal entries, I celebrated first love, seeing a bully get paid in full with karma, and watched him make new friends. I also felt empathy for him and his situation. It’s not often that a book can drag you through the emotional gamut and come out with pretty happy ending in the end.

Adam as a character grows, and regresses, and grows some more. He changed so much, and as a reader I learned so much about him. He is much braver than he thinks and seeing him come to the conclusion at the end of the book made me smile with tears in my eyes as this story came to an end.

The other characters, Maya, Dwight, Ian, and Adam’s parents are a bit flat, but it works since this is his personal journal. We don’t really learn a lot about his friends because while he’s talking about his day to day life, we’re mainly reading his thoughts and how he felt. This kept the other characters from feeling non-essential to the story and gave them a bit of depth they may have otherwise lacked.

Overall, this book is worth the read. It’s easy to get into and won’t let you go until it’s done. While it may not be exactly what schizophrenia is like, the author did a great job using creative liberties to make the story relatable without being overwhelming.

Words on Bathroom Walls Book Cover Words on Bathroom Walls
Julia Walton
Contemporary, Young Adult, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Health
Random House Books for Young Readers
July 4, 2017
Kindle eBook

Fans of More Happy Than Not, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story will cheer for Adam as he struggles with schizophrenia in this brilliantly honest and unexpectedly funny debut.

Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can't.

Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.

"A brutal, beautiful book that sits right beside The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I'll Give You the Sun."
--Jennifer Longo, author of Up to This Pointe

"This book reminds me of A Monster Calls. I saved the final twenty pages for the next day because I didn't want Adam's story to end."
--Peter Brown Hoffmeister, author of This Is the Part Where You Laugh

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