Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: Crazy by Amy Reed

SUMMARY: He’s falling in love—and she’s falling over the edge of sanity. From the author of Beautiful and Clean, a heartwrenching exploration of a romance marred by mental illness.

Connor knows that Izzy will never fall in love with him the way he’s fallen for her. But somehow he’s been let into her crazy, exhilarating world and become her closest confidante. But the closer they get, the more Connor realizes that Izzy’s highs are too high and her lows are too low. And the frenetic energy that makes her shine is starting to push her into a much darker place.

As Izzy’s behavior gets increasingly erratic and self-destructive, Connor gets increasingly desperate to stop her from plummeting. He knows he can’t save her from her pain... but what if no one else can?


Visceral and stunning, Crazy is a perfect look at the spiraling into depression and mania, and the fear that comes with it. Readers will fall in love with the two central characters who are as similar as they are different. With an interesting writing style, told entirely in emails, and plenty of gutting moments, Crazy is a beautiful and thrilling book.

Connor is sensitive and sweet, the kind of guy who is quiet and not always noticeable yet a rock once he’s in someone’s life. Somewhat of an outsider, and mostly just too smart to fully connect to his peers, Connor understands Izzy in a way she isn't used to, yet also in a way that he doesn’t fully grasp either. With a stable home life, and a fairly typical but not completely stressed relationship with his mom, Connor has a lot going for him, but is smart enough to know it. Clearly in love with Izzy, and frustrated at times with her distance and responses, she tests him in ways he can’t always understand and react to.

Izzy is fun, wild, and volatile. Battling her own demons of sorts, and trapped in that limbo state of knowing she’s overreacting to things but being unable to stop it, the growing danger around her is palpable, gutting and realistic. Someone who pushes those close to her away in times of stress, and who admittedly treats Connor pretty badly at times, just how much she is really reaching out for help is infused in nearly every page in her perspective. Certainly bordering into crazy territory, but fighting it the entire way, Izzy’s character is easily understandable, even for readers who haven’t been personally in her situation.

While reference is made to Connor and Izzy’s friends and family throughout, there is no immediate contact for readers with them for most of the book, due to the email style. This direct electronic dialog adds a new level of emotion, making this book visceral and physically painful, with a different sort of intimacy to the characters about it because of the unflinching honesty in every email. From normal frustrations and wants to things that neither character can fully grasp, there is a huge range of emotions, events, and experiences in this book.

There is a steadiness to the pacing that will keep readers both acutely aware of the days that sometimes go by without a reply from one of the characters, as well constantly gripped and engaged in the story. With a direct look into Izzy’s mind as she falls further into the depths of darkness, the psychological aspect of this story is both thrilling and gutting. With a painful climax and a well done ending for the story, this is one of those books that readers will be unable to put down, no matter the late hours.

The writing is poignant and real, not so much a second person narrative style as just reading someone’s personal emails. With gaps between some of the emails, and a stunning sense of urgency embedded into others, the passing of time is easy to follow. Pulling readers in just as easily as if this was “normal” narrative style, Reed is a truly talented writer who is proving herself once again in a new way.

With some fun moments mixed into an otherwise painful background, and a desperation to both characters that is prevalent in their words, Crazy is stunning, bold and breathtaking. Pulling off the email style perfectly, and unflinching in every aspect, Reed is a truly talented author who shines with this book. Even those who don’t love contemporary fiction need to pick this one up, and they won't be able to forget it.

Source: Galley Grab 
Reading level: Ages 14 and up 
Hardcover: 384 pages 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: June 12, 2012

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