“This group…it’s like a twisted version of The Breakfast Club.”
Hmmm. I was just thinking the exact same thing. And the author has now taken care of my whole intro to the book. Whew! That was hard work.
Petula’s art therapy group is an emotionally bruised group of kids which she would rather not be a part of. If only she hadn’t thrown that cup at the other counselor… They snipe at each other and make rude remarks, yet are somehow exactly the kind of people she needs. It’s only with Jacob’s arrival that they really begin to pull together and trust each other, however.
Adults are often making life miserable for Petula, but even the principal, her parents, and the goofy and well-meaning art therapist have their moments. I loved the way the author took these wounded and struggling people and made them real, bringing their joys and sorrows into the light. There is sadness galore, but there is also hope. And it is funny, at least in the way that people joke after death or screwing up their lives or alienating their families. Oh, and there are Canadians in it. That’s a bonus, too.
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen