Mental by Justice Serai
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (186 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Hope is an illusion meant to convince the broken to keep on living. That’s me. Broken.
My father pays heaps of money for doctors at the Norfolk Psychiatric Center to fix me. I’ve spent six months of my prime teenage years at this residential facility – a place for teenagers who’ve gone mental.
That’s me. Mental.
Just when I begin to feel myself fade away, a boy with a wolfish smile and mischievous eyes reels me in. Julian is broken too, but he believes in me enough for the both of us. Through him, I begin to experience this thing called hope. Doctors can’t fix me, my parents can’t either, but maybe it’s not me who needs fixing.
After all, mental is only a state of mind. It all depends on who’s doing the thinking.
No one can survive without hope. Will Lucy find enough of it to keep fighting?
I was impressed by how compassionately Lucy’s mental illness was portrayed. Her diagnosis is often seriously misunderstood due to how the symptoms affect the lives of people who have it. She was a well-developed main character before her reason for being admitted to the Norfolk Psychiatric Center, but knowing the reason why she needed to be in such a secure facility made her even more three-dimensional.
The characters involved in the romantic subplot jumped from their first meeting to falling for each other extremely quickly. While I liked both of them quite a bit as individuals, I was never quite sure why they thought they would make a good couple. There simply wasn’t enough information about what they had in common or why they were so attracted to one another for me to put all of the pieces together. Had this not been the case, I would have given this book a much higher rating. It was otherwise really well done.
The ending to this story complemented everything that had happened earlier. There were certain parts of it that I definitely didn’t see coming ahead of time, but they did fit in smoothly with all of the established character and plot development. While I was satisfied by how the author wrapped everything up, I hope she will consider writing a sequel that explores what happens in Lucy’s life after the events of the final chapter.
Mental is a very good choice for adult and young adult readers alike. I’d especially recommend it to anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to have a serious mental illness.