Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review + Giveaway: Hannah by Hannah Westberg

SUMMARY (From Amazon):

Hannah is a girl interrupted.

For Hannah Westberg, life has been one big emotional roller coaster. As a girl, her mother was in and out of mental hospitals, so when it was her turn to visit the psych ward following a suicide attempt the summer after eighth grade, she had an idea of what she was in for. But that was only the beginning of Hannah's journey.

Over the next five years, Hannah has engaged in dangerous behaviors--from pill popping and excessive dieting to cutting--and paid a high price. Her depression, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies have landed her in rehab and therapy and with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. But though she may have a label for her mental illness and tools for coping, for Hannah, life is still something she takes one day at a time.

'The psych ward is where you go to get from fragile to shattered. It's like taking your car to get washed and getting your windshield broken in the process.'


As someone who gravitates towards contemporary YA, particularly the issues book, I was intrigued by Hannah’s story. Right from the start, it was easy to imagine things as being in a fictional setting. Except, it wasn’t. Everything was the chain of events that led to a multitude of other things throughout Hannah’s life. Even giving details into her mother’s life before Hannah was born, she lays everything out.

There is no better way to try to understand mental illness and self destruction than straight from a person who has struggled with it. This book chronicles much of Hannah’s teenage/high school years, showing how much she struggled and how she truly wasn’t being overdramatic for the sake of drama and attention. While much of her behavior was for attention, it was an unconscious drive and she truly believed her motivations and reasons.

Hannah’s story is riveting and intense and much of her emotional pain pours into the pages. Her happy and upbeat times are strong, only to suddenly be smacked down by something else. For every few steps she would take, she’d be slammed back even more. Struggling for a support system that was reliable and steady only worsened Hannah’s problems. Her interactions with her parents are hard to read but her ability to understand her mother especially adds a strong element to her as a person.

Dealing with a range of issues from eating disorders to drugs to abandonment issues and other deep problems, Hannah has been through the ringer even early on. With each chapter closing, however, Hannah slips into a positive side and lets the reader know what she learned or hopes to take away from the experiences. Hannah’s story is deep and personal, enlightening and revealing, and certainly should be read.

Source: Received from review from HCI Teens as part of a promotional tour
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: HCI Teens (August 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0757315283
ISBN-13: 978-0757315282

Contest time! Along with Hannah, Chelsea Rae Swiggett and Alexis Singer have written their stories as well. To celebrate getting their stories out there, I have giveaways for 4 winners. One winner will receive a copy of all three books, and three more winners will each receive one of the books.

To enter, fill out this form! US/Canada only and no P.O. Boxes! Contest ends Friday, August 20.


  1. I love these books and so do my students. Thanks for the review and the giveaway!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  2. Thanks so much for reading Hannah and sharing your thoughts! I loved working with Hannah as she is such a gifted writer with oodles of raw talent, and so honestly shared her story. Thanks also for participating in the blog tour!
    XOXO Deborah Reber, editor of Louder Than Words

  3. ♥♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥*¨*•.•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*••♫♪♪♫•*¨* ~~ Love is your highest essence. A part of you remains, wherever you have loved.”~~ C.J. Good


    This is a powerful topic that really resonates with many people. I was certainly touched by this article. thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to reading more.

    ~~Allow me to share with you my newest healing recovery book for those suffering with eating disorders: "Little Gifts of Sustainable Contentment." Check it out, (look inside for free - now), read it, then please pass it on to others you care about...:)

  4. As a sufferer of anxiety/social anxiety/ptsd, this book sounds like it would be a great read for me - please enter me and thank you!