High schooler Natalie Cordova has just been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Her mom insists she keep it secret.
Putting up a front and hiding her mental illness from her classmates is going to be the hardest thing high schooler Natalie Cordova has ever done. It’s her senior year, and she’s just been selected to present her artwork at a prestigious show. With the stress of performing on her shoulders, it doesn’t help when Natalie notices a boy who makes her heart leap. And then there’s fellow student Ella, who confronts Natalie about her summer car “accident” and pressures her into caring for the world’s ugliest dog. Now Natalie finds herself juggling all kinds of feels and responsibilities. Surely her newly prescribed medication is to blame for the funk she finds herself in. But as Natalie’s plan to self-treat unravels, so does the perfect façade she’s been painting for everyone else.
Written from experience, this heartfelt and candid contemporary YA novel explores the stigma surrounding mental illness and offers an uplifting narrative of resilience.
Christine Webb is a middle school teacher from Kalamazoo, Michigan. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her zoo (three goofy dogs, an evil cat, twenty nameless pigeons, and a friendly rat), and traveling with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @cwebbwrites.
"Natalie’s sharply drawn narrative voice provides levity and good humor. Debut author Webb draws from her own experience living with BPD to deliver a blistering portrayal of one teen’s attempts to seem ‘normal enough’ while managing a mental disorder—and the stigma and stereotypes that often accompany it—amid increasingly overwhelming life changes."—Publishers Weekly
"Achingly truthful, the book sees Natalie through the quagmire of the journey to self-acceptance with humor and insight. Webb works with intelligence and candor to chip away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness. . . . Kind, buoyant, and cleareyed."—Kirkus Reviews
"Webb here presents a story with educational elements woven in. Despite Natalie’s many obstacles, her journey is still shown as hopeful. Natalie’s experience with mental health is one that readers with their own mental illness can find comfort in, and those without can genuinely learn something from it."—School Library Journal
"To anyone who doubts that art saves, Webb's latest title serves as a powerful example of the role art can play in self-identity, communication, and family ties."—School Library Connection
"Webb constructs an intimate look at bipolar disorder in teen girls, while infusing Natalie’s story with art, humor, and a bit of unexpected mystery. . . . Focusing a positive lens on mental health, this coming-of-age story sees its protagonist navigating high school and young love."—Booklist