Book Review: Crazy by Amy Reed

When Connor and Izzy meet at summer camp, they decide to keep in touch via email after they go their separate ways.  As they email back and forth, Connor realizes that while she might never love him the way he’s fallen in love with her, he has become her close friend.  As she confides in him, Connor starts to realize that her mood swings are too extreme and that she just might be a danger to herself.  Can Connor help her, and will Izzy let him?

Reed is fast becoming one of the premiere YA authors who write about edgy, contemporary topics.  With her latest offering about bipolar disorder, Reed paints an authentic, emotionally raw portrait of what it’s like to live with the disease–and what it’s like to love someone who suffers from it.  Teens will race through this epistolary novel.

Reed manages to develop distinct voices and personalities for both Connor and Izzy.  Because the entire story is told through emails to one another, Reed must keep the pacing going despite the fact that all the action is happening ofscreen.  For the most part, she manages to do this.  Connor’s increasing worry about Izzy and Izzy’s increasing erratic behavior make for a tense plot.  The rising action will keep readers glued to the book (this reviewer read the book in one sitting), eager and nervous to see how it all pans out.

What is commendable is the fact that Reed doesn’t shy away from making Izzy a difficult character. She’s selfish and flighty and totally manipulative, but she’s also sympathetic.  The facets of her personality blend perfectly with someone who has bipolar disorder, and anyone who knows someone with the disease will see how very real all of this is.  Both characters are flawed and dependent on one another.  It’s all very well done.

Recommended.  This is one that fans of contemporary YA shouldn’t miss.

Crazy by Amy Reed. Simon Pulse: 2012. Library copy. Read for 2012 Cybils Round 1 Panel.

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