Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crazy by Amy Reed
Simon and Schuster
Available June 12th
For Review from 
Amazon, Kindle,
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound,Book Depository

From Goodreads-
He’s falling in love—and she’s falling over the edge of sanity. From the author of Beautiful and Clean, a heart wrenching exploration of a romance marred by mental illness.

Connor knows that Izzy will never fall in love with him the way he’s fallen for her. But somehow he’s been let into her crazy, exhilarating world and become her closest confidante. But the closer they get, the more Connor realizes that Izzy’s highs are too high and her lows are too low. And the frenetic energy that makes her shine is starting to push her into a much darker place.

As Izzy’s behavior gets increasingly erratic and self-destructive, Connor gets increasingly desperate to stop her from plummeting. He knows he can’t save her from her pain...but what if no one else can?

Okay, so if you're at all familiar with my blog, you'll know this book must have been hand picked for me!
Bipolar disease runs in my family with three out of the four of us having it in my immediate family. I could relate to Izzy so well, Amy Reed could have interviewed me. I was always "too sensitive" or "everyone else feels that way too." When you've never known normal, how do you know you're sick?

My first impression of this book was that it was a great snapshot into showing the highs and lows of an undiagnosed or unmedicated case of Bipolar Disease. Yes, it's a disease the same as heart disease or diabetes, and it affects the biggest organ of all in our bodies. That's why it shouldn't be talked about secretly or shamefully. It should be out there and everyone should be talking about the diseases that affect this major organ. The one that controls everything and the one that, when it is affected by a disease, does the most damage.  

There can be no doubt about it as you read Crazy that Izzy is definitely different. She's supposed to be brilliant (according to what Connor says) and a fantastic artist (again according to what Connor says).  The story is told through a series of emails back and forth between Connor and Iz or Izzy depending on how she wants to sign it. Sometimes she punishes him for days not writing back so that he backs off from whatever he was trying to assert and apologizes. This is the manipulation that comes with Bipolar Disease. There are lots of little tricks that can make you hate someone with Bipolar Disorder, but they are also the same ones that can make you love them. As you read the emails, you sense Izzy's depression and utter loneliness. She expresses herself very well. But there got to a point where I wasn't sure if someone in her state could so beautifully express herself.  Sometimes the writing, which was extremely lyrical and almost over my head at times, seemed too intelligent for two high school seniors to be writing.

I get that Izzy had Bipolar Disorder and sometimes people with more creativity are supposedly among those that have the disease. So she should have been able to express herself in unique ways, but even when she was manic, her thoughts were clear enough but almost too intelligent. It felt like two poet laureates were expressing themselves instead of two high school students with above average intelligence.

But Izzy's behaviors were right in line with textbook Bipolar Disorder. She hit rock bottom and then bam hit a high and couldn't sleep for days for all the ideas in her head, ideas she never finished and that weren't a good idea. She was promiscuous and participated in dangerous behaviors and then she came crashing down to the inevitable low. And Connor, Connor from summer camp who helped this beautiful girl that he fell in love with and didn't know was going to take him on this roller coaster ride, is with her every step of the way as she pours out how she's feeling, what she's done, what she regrets and everything in between. Ironically, Connor's mother is a therapist, but he wont' betray Izzy by talking to her about what Izzy is going through unless Izzy says it's okay and she does not say it's okay.

I'm glad Amy Reed showed what it's like to be inside the mind of someone who goes through this scary ride and doesn't understand what's going on. It's a desperate, lonely, terrifying journey especially if no one is there to care or get you help. I hope that teens will read this and if they see themselves in it, will get help. I wish there had been resources listed in the back for teens to go for help. Mental illness is still looked upon shamefully and is a disease that doesn't get enough discussion.  I did read the ARC so maybe there are resources listed in the finished book.  

Reed  gets it right for showing Izzy as a victim of her illness, not some delinquent juvenile that can't control herself.  Because the truth is, Bipolar Disease is a chemical imbalance in the brain. That's the simple way to put it and Izzy says it herself. But she's also deflated by the fact that the first medication may not work and it may take 4-6 weeks to know if it is working and if it isn't working there's no guarantee that the next medication will work. It's just a guessing game until you hit the right combination.  That's the complicated part.  And the medication can make you feel like a zombie until you get used to it, or for a long time after.

This is a great book for teens and anyone that enjoys Contemporary YA. There is some language and sex mentioned in graphic terms so use your judgement. It's part of the journey Izzy goes through. I think parents might learn a lot too if their teen suffers from Bipolar Disease/Disorder.  



  1. Well, it sounds like the author either did her homework or knows someone with bipolar to get it right. I like it when authors do that. Always lends the story some authenticity. This sounds like a story you really enjoyed. Makes me curious about it.

    Btw, what is normal? All the boring people are normal. ;)

    1. Melissa-
      There is no normal! It's just a word. Yes, I did enjoy it because I have had Bipolar Disease since I was in 4th grade, but no one thought kids that young could have it. So I just suffered. I was also not with my biological family so they had no idea what was wrong with me, whereas at least my biological family would have known it ran in the family. This subject if done right can help so many kids.

      Just think, if you've always felt one way and once you get medicated you feel better, you never knew there was a better way to feel. It's hard to explain.
      It's like living with a headache and not knowing that there is life without a headache. Until one day, you find a medicine that takes it away and you see life without a headache. That's what being properly treated for a mental illness is like.

  2. The school has lost three kids due to depression this year and I think people are finally starting to realize that depression is a mental illness, a disease that can be so easily overlooked or masked. I'm glad that books like Crazy can address some issues that teens may not feel comfortable in discussing. It's a bummer that's there's no resources pgs but I hope there's one in the final book. Awesome review, Heather!

    1. Oh Rummanah, I'm so sorry! It's why I'm not shy about talking about it or admitting that my children have Bipolar Disorder. They were both diagnosed in the 4th grade, but only because I knew what to look for. If I didn't have Bipolar Disorder, I wouldn't have known. Depression even snuck up on me with my youngest child this year. He was sleeping all the time, didn't eat, slept in class, failing, and me Depression Queen didn't realize he was going through a bout of depression. I knew what to do immediately and we luckily have a psychiatrist already. But it takes a few weeks for medication to kick in. And then it can make you feel like a zombie until you get used to it. But it's better than the alternative.

      I heard a mother in the psychiatrists office say, after her daughter left, "I don't know what she has to be depressed about. She's got friends, a car, all the clothes she could want." I couldn't keep my mouth shut. I politely told her that it had nothing to do with things or people. It was a chemical imbalance that couldn't be fixed by "pulling up your bootstraps". The girl was a teenager. I'm hoping mom did some research or got better informed.

      The problem is by the time you're depressed, you don't want to ask for help. That's why everyone needs to recognize it so they can help their friends. Get them help.And if it's stigmatized like some authors continue to do, teens will hide behind fake smiles and go home and bury their hurt. But that only works for awhile.

  3. I'm glad you found a book with a bipolar character in it that does it justice. I love reading books that have mental health characters in them to get me thinking a different way, especially when an author has done their research and pegs characters correctly!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

    1. Ahem, She's a character with bipolar disorder. And yes, it does do her and the disease justice. Especially for teens. Even if only one teen recognizes themselves or a friend in the book, she's saved someone.

      On average it takes ten years for a person to get properly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Can you imagine a teen trying to get diagnosed?

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