Anna has always been so level-headed, so easy-going, so talented and funny. How could anyone have guessed she wanted to die?
Anna is not like other people. For one thing, she’s been an accomplished artist since she was a preschooler. For another, she’s always felt like she didn’t belong: not with other kids, not with her family, not in her body. It isn’t until her grandparents are killed in a tragic accident, however, that Anna starts to feel untethered. She begins to wonder what it would be like if she didn’t exist, and the thought of escaping the aimless drifting is the only thing that brings her comfort.
When Anna overdoses on prescription painkillers, doctors realize she has been suffering from depression and start looking for a way to help her out of the desperate black hole she never thought she would escape. It’s then that rock bottom comes into sight and the journey back to normal begins.
Received this book for review from netgally and the publisher in exchange for an honest review this has in no way affected my opinion
Anna is bright funny and talented. She has a great group of friends and a loving supportive family. She’s still mourning the death of her beloved grandparents two years ago but that’s to e expected given how close she was to her kindred spirt grandmother. She has no reason to want to die. But she does. She’s searching for ways to commit suicide leading subtle hints in passive attempts to die. Anna doesn’t realise she’s clinically depressed suffering from a real treatable medical condition. Recovering wont be easy, but with the support of her loved ones possible.
Told in the POVS of Anna her best friend and her mother, Christina Kilbourne the unique path of including an adult POV in a YA novel. I think she chose Anna’s mother hoping to appeal to parents as well as teens. In her author’s note, Kilbourne states she was approached by a mom whose teen committed suicide to write the book, so perhaps that’s the reason or maybe she wanted to show the impact on parents. The mom felt like the least developed character, her purpose to give a perspective on the complexity of depression and a primer for the perfect reaction to a suicidal child. She felt artificial. Similarly, Aliya was the paragon of best friends, perfectly supportive.
Anna, the most complex character’s biggest flaw was that she lied to hide her depression and the actions she took to isolate herself and her suicidal gestures, understandable and realistic. She was sympathetic and easy to embrace and root for. What felt most unrealistic is that nobody became angry and frustrated when they caught Anna in lies and when she let them down. No one, not teachers, friends, parents or her brother called her on her behavior, though they did ask her if she was okay and let it go. In my experience working with teens and parents, people react in a much more complex manner. There’s often anger following a suicide attempt, which can be a tool for the sufferer to understand how she’s loved and the impact of her actions on her family and friends.
Kilbourne held my interest with her writing, though I appreciate more when different POVs have unique, distinct voices. I read DETACHED in one sitting in just a few hours. She delivers a strong message without spoon feeding it to readers; depression is a real, treatable, medical illness that can run in families. While Anna’s recovery and re-entry