Publisher's Note:  

When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she's never had.

But Vicky's newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vicky back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength. She may not have them. She doesn't know.

Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one -- about living when life doesn't seem worth it, and how we go on anywa

The Memory of Light

by Francisco X. Stork

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Overall Review:  

The Memory of Light is an intriguing look into the world of depression and how we can grasp for hope within the darkest of nights.

When I read the summary for this book, I was concerned.  Was this a book that was going to glamorize suicide or attempted suicide in teenagers?  Would it paint an unrealistic portrait of the trials and tribulations faced by those struggling with depression?  Would it do the opposite and be a dark and morose tale that left one without a sense of hope?  

I was pleasantly surprised by this read.  It is an insightful look at a girl who attempts suicide and then learns how to describe her depression.  She learns how to put words to the feelings she has.  She learns that she is not alone, and others teach her how to hope and cope through their struggles with their own mental illness.

What intrigued me the most with this book was how accurately and appropriately it dealt with the tough subject of mental illness.  The book is clear and concise in its description of the feelings and mental challenges associated with depression and other mental illnesses.  It does not glorify suicide, but instead outlines the need for treatment and therapy and how one can cope with a disease that can be debilitating.

This book would be a great read for readers of all ages.  It is simple in its language and narrative and is written in a way that even the most seasoned readers will find nuggets of truth to take away.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  9 religious exclamations, 10 mild obscenities, 1 scatological word, 3 anatomical terms; 2 offensive hand gestures.

Violence/Gore:  Reference to child abuse with no details; teen falls in rapids and almost drowns; man swings ax at teen and misses; teen punches man in face resulting in broken tooth and bloody nose; attempted suicide by overdose of sleeping pills; reference to death of mother from cancer; reference to girl chewing off finger; reference to teenager beating man.

Sex/Nudity:  Teen is naked from chest up while ill; reference to a naked girl (no detail); holding hands; 4 instances of kissing.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Racial and socioeconomic conflicts, death of a family member, attempted/considered suicide, mental disorders, child abuse.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Teens smoke; teen almost overdoses on morphine.

Reviewed By Beckie
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