"While dealing with the recovery of his mentally ill father, sophomore in high school Billy volunteers at a suicide prevention line and falls for one of the incoming callers"--
Billy wants to be a psychologist; he's already lived through his father's serious depression in Young's first book, The Opposite of Music. Now that his father has perked up and started painting again, Billy begins volunteering at a suicide prevention hotline. Although some of the rules bother him (no ongoing relationships with repeat callers; no contacting emergency services without the caller's permission), he's eager to help, perhaps even save a life. Increasingly worried that his father's mood is verging on mania, Billy grows distant from his mother and sister and closer to Jenney, a frequent hotline caller whose problems get more florid as the book progresses. In her third novel about mental illness, Young proves she isn't afraid of dark topics, but while she persuasively depicts Billy's overinvolvement with Jenney and his certainty that his family is in denial, she offers little counterweight to Billy's judgments (Gordy, Billy's saintly best friend, occasionally offers advice). Readers wondering why Billy, a smart high school sophomore, never questions either Jenney's stories or his own take on his father's situation may not fully connect with him. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Atheneum Books for Young Readers
November 13, 2012
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