A Haunting Yet Uplifting Read
I found this novel an easy read, in terms of not being put off by long blocky text, complicated terminology and the like. It is categorised as a YA book but I reckon some adults (such as myself) may appreciate it (perhaps enjoy isn't quite the most appropriate term). Yes it does cover some serious topics, mainly suicide and mental illness. I think it works well as the author makes you imagine being in the protagonists shoes and it gives you a rough idea of what things may be like for people like him and for the teen girl that he builds a perhaps unlikely friendship with.
I felt immersed in the environment described, the people, their pasts and their issues, among other things. It may open younger peoples eyes in terms of being aware that people have things they keep to themselves which might not be known about - family issues or the like, as a brief example. Also, it highlights the cruelty of labels put on people by those who are, to one extent or another, ignorant.
I liked the somewhat quirkier aspects of the plot as well, with the project the two main characters work on for school allowing them (primarily the protagonist) to highlight their creative mind - their imagination, in some quite touching ways (I won't go in to any details so as not to provide spoilers). Its quite touching at times and its also somewhat thought provoking. While it is undoubtedly sad, there felt (to me) to be an uplifting element to it too, thats not to say that its in any way pro-suicide, or anything like that but more in terms of the attitudes of the characters, their friendship in some respects. I recommend this book.