My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The premise intrigued me, because it seemed heavily centered on anxiety, which I have (fun stuff). Sadie Valentine is the main character, a beautiful young woman who seems to have almost everything—a great best friend (Aldo, a gay hairdresser), a glamorous apartment her mother gifted her, commission selling paintings (although I didn’t ever get the feeling she really enjoyed art much, just that it was a kind-of job) and fun, city living. What she doesn’t have is a love life, and getting over her ex-fiance is one thing that pushes her over the edge into a breakdown, even months after they’ve split. There’s also some catty frenemies, and Sadie’s distant, cold mother who make matters worse. Sadie ends up falling into a sudden and deep depression/anxiety mash-up, and finally leans on a support group for help before taking back her life.
What I didn’t like: I would have loved the author to develop the plot line with Sadie’s mysterious father a little more—it felt thrown in and back out just as quickly. The bitchy friends made me see red, so I was waiting for a Sadie to smack them down HARD for a long time, and it didn’t quite turn out like that, so I got miffed that she wasn’t tougher on them. And also, I think there should have been more solutions to anxiety presented (including a more in-depth look at medication, which does work wonders for some.) But…
What I liked: Sadie was a character I really enjoyed! I could picture her clearly, and I could feel her pain. I don’t know how different the story would look through the lens of a reader who doesn’t suffer from anxiety or depression (possibly quite different), but for me, it rang true many times. I cared about her. I cared about Aldo. Their friendship was endearing, and they really felt like family to each other. I liked the support group, and I would have even enjoyed more interaction with the group characters, besides the one girl she befriended (who I also really liked though I’ve forgotten her name).
Overall, I’d give it 3.5 stars, but let’s round to 4. I fell in love with Sadie in a way, and I was so happy for her ability to turn herself around. Good book that touches on the struggles with anxiety, particularly for someone who doesn’t think it can ever happen to them. I’d love to see what happens to Sadie next!