Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.
Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.
Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?
I really appreciate that this year I have been part of Random House's First In Line program. It has given me access to several fantastic YA books. 10 Things I Can See From Here is no exception. I was weary of it's serious subject matter (anxiety and addiction) at first. But I was won over by winning characters and a story that made me care deeply about what would happen.
What I Liked:Characters:
Maeve is the main character in the book. She has major problems with anxiety but there is so much more to her than that. I loved that Maeve had such conflicting emotions about the adults in her life. She loves her parents, but sees how self-involved they are, too. She is also an artist and a wonderful older sister to her twin half-brothers. Even when things get rough, she feels responsible enough to put her worries aside to be there for those she loves.
Salix is the girl that Maeve meets when she temporarily moves to Vancouver to be with her dad. Again, I liked that she was not perfect. She did not really get how all-encompassing Maeve's anxiety was. There were several scenes where Salix oversimplifies what Maeve is dealing with and offers trite solutions. Instead of getting frustrated with her, Maeve accepts that Salix will probably not ever truly understand.
Another aspect of this relationship that I love is that Salix's is NOT there to save Maeve. Maeve must deal with her problems on her own. Salix is a great support, but she also has issues of her own to work on.
One of my pet peeves in YA is the trope where the parents are practically missing in the story. Not so in this book. Maeve's dad and step-mom are front and center in this book. What I appreciated was that these were fully-formed characters with good points and lots of flaws. Maeve sees what is going on in her parent's lives, including addiction, divorce, job insecurity, and anger issues. These parents are not perfect, but the book shows that they really are trying.
I found the romantic parts of the book to be lovely and realistic. In many books, the characters usually seem to know instinctively what to do in the kissing (and more) area. Of course, the reality is that many people fumble through their first relationships and sexual encounters. I thought the book got to the heart of what it means to be young and experience love and lust for the first time.
What I Was Mixed About:Possible Triggers:
The main character, Maeve, struggles with anxiety. To show this, the book goes into great detail about accident and death statistics, and other horrible scenarios Maeve thinks about that fuel her worries. While I understood why the author did this, I think reading this might actually trigger an anxiety attack! Obviously this was not the intention, but I know people who will react just as Maeve does. Perhaps a warning?
The book's tone is uneven at times. While there are many difficult moments for poor Maeve to deal with in the story, there are also sections that are meant to be funny, but seem out of place in this book. When she is anxious, Maeve constructs elaborate obituaries for various things happening in the story. Since there is an actual death in the book, I thought the obits were in poor taste.
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Genre: YA Fiction / YA LGBTQ Fiction
Source: Random House "First In Line" program
Format: Paperback book
Recommendation: With it's serious subject matters of anxiety and addition, this was tough to read, at times. But one is rewarded with great characters, a sweet romance, and a compelling story.