(adj.) Conforming to a standard; regular, typical or expected
(urban) A word inapplicable to human beings
(Florence) Round, smooth and bumpy like a cobbled street
Florence doesn’t always see things the way other people do. She feels different.
When Florence meets Jasper, Andrew and Wilf she can’t imagine they’d have much in common – with at least five mental health conditions between them, they all have very different reasons for being referred to Manor Lane Therapy Centre.
It’s only when their therapist, Howard, goes missing that they find a common purpose. Worried by his disappearance and wanting answers, the four of them decide to track him down.
As they cross the country in a ‘borrowed’ van, asking each other Ultimate Questions and facing a series of challenges along the way, they start to reveal their true selves – and Florence realises there’s more to all of them than just a diagnosis . . .
Maybe they’re not so different after all?
What I Thought:
This was the September book in the personalised Willoughby Book Club YA subscription I was given for my birthday and made it a solid 3 out of 3 so far of excellent reads. Top marks for whoever is choosing the books!!
Starting with the important things – the bright orange cover with black and white details is brilliant and eye-catching and I just love the tag line at the top. I hadn’t heard of this book or the author before, but if I had seen it in a display I would definitely have picked it up for a closer look.
There was a lot to like in this book, and the writing style was really easy to read.
The characters are, as you would expect from the blurb, a colourful bunch of teenagers. They are all from different backgrounds and have their own challenges to overcome, but have been thrown together in the Manor Lane Therapy Centre and have tentatively become friends.
In many ways, they are no different to any other teenagers – they have crushes, mood swings, dreams, fears, and hobbies – but each of them has something ‘extra’ that has led them to be in the Therapy Centre, and you slowly discover their stories through the books. At first you are aware of their ‘diagnosis’ – depression, anxiety, ADHD, eating disorder, that kind of thing – but as they set off to try and find their therapist, they open up to each other and you begin to see them as more than those words.
I think that is why I loved this book so much. So often these days people are defined by something they have been diagnosed with and nobody ever looks further than that.
‘Bob was a 19 year old with depression…’, ‘A 23-year old anorexic…’, ‘Teenager with ADHD…’
You see it all the time, and it is used against people constantly – this book shows how each of the characters is more than their mental health conditions – they are multifaceted, interesting people, just the same as anyone else. They might show their feelings differently, or act differently, but ultimately they are just human.
The story itself is simple enough: four teenagers, one camper van, one road trip to find someone.
There are laugh out loud moments, tension, awkwardness, grief, fear, anger, and everything in between, all in this fairly short novel.
But mostly there is friendship, forgiveness, understanding, love, and buckets and buckets of hope.
I recommend this to basically everyone, it’s just a lovely book.
My Rating: 5/5*
Linking up with Read With Me over on Mama Mummy Mum: