Holy bananas, did I love Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe. This book deals with so many big, big things in such compassionate, realistic, and emotionally devastating ways. It was a surprisingly engaging and addictive read considering the harsh subject matter it dealt with.
On the surface, the story was of a girl and her previously-absent father on an international vacation together, trying to get to know one another. There were the pitfalls you’d imagine with a somewhat bitter teenager: tantrums and acting out, etc., but there was also a very rich plot line that centered not just on mental illness but on the ever-changing face of mental illness in a particular person. This book explored that pesky place where a person with serious medical issues begins to get better and convinces themselves that they don’t need their meds, therapy, etc., and the cringe-worthy process of said person convincing the most important people in their lives that they really are better. There was a holocaust sub-plot that was, well, easier to read than a lot of holocaust sub-plots but pretty charged nonetheless.
I appreciated the authors exceptional character development and her commitment to creating characters that were rich, confusing, surprising, and believable. This is a book that keeps you guessing, not in that tension-building way where the author is teasing you with info and there is clearly some calamity ahead, but via unreliable narrators. The reader is along for the journey and discovers truths right along with the characters. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Also, it is my duty to inform you that I read this via NetGalley, where I received a free review copy in exchange for my honest review.