Review Detail

Young Adult Indie 1798
Important topic
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Plot/Story 
 
4.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
3.0
What I Loved

I really loved the freshness of the subject matter. I loved that this novel focused on an important topic (treatment of young adult mental health). This sadly seems to be an underrepresented topic in YA. Although I have read some YA novels where mental health is part of the storyline, treatment was not the central dialogue .
This story did have a small romantic subplot but it was a minor one and didn't distract from the central theme.
I also love that this novel took place in the nineties. It helped to show how quickly the treatment of teenagers with mental health issues has advanced in the last twenty years. The author mentions that she did not use any psychiatry resources that post dated the era of the novel.
I also loved that three of the four main characters were African-American. The diversity of the characters definitely added to the depth of the story and made it more true to life.
I did also enjoy the prose. I think Choler's writing is very smooth and easy to read.
I did connect with the characters and I think that each had their own unique voice. They were all flawed in different ways. This made them more human and relatable.

What Left Me Wanting More

I do think that the switching of POV without any breaks or sub titles made the writing seem a little jumbled. I didn't get confused about whose POV was being represented but I do think it did make the writing a little choppy and a little harder to read. I also think that the storyline was a bit slow. I did take me quite awhile to finish but I did love the plot and the characters.

My Final Verdict

I really liked this novel. The writing was good and the story was well done. Although the story did lag a bit, I think the subject is important one.The characters were relatable enough to make it a good read. I would definitely recommend this book for teenagers. This is an important resource for anyone who is struggling with depression, loss, self-image or any other mental health issues.
Good Points
'A Bitter Pill to Swallow's' storyline addresses a seldom discussed topic. The mental health of teens in America. The story has four very different points of view. All work or live in a treatment facility for teens with mental health issues. The first POV is that of ,Janina, a teen who is artistically talented but struggles with self-esteem and social anxiety issues. The second POV is that of Devante. He is an academically gifted teen who witnesses the murder of his girlfriend and struggles with the depression that follows. The third POV is that of Gail. She is a physician who has had family issues and now wishes to change her specialty to psychiatry. The last POV is that of Dr. Lutkin, a psychiatrist and the director of the facility. He has his own skeletons in his closet.
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