Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? – Holly Bourne : Book review

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Summary:

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

Book Review:

Rating: 4 stars /5

Thank you UsborneYA for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What a bold and honest book. I was a little unsure before going into it, because while I had heard a lot about Holly Bourne’s books, I had never read them before. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? ended up being a book I enjoyed a lot. As is clear from the message it is trying to spread, #KindnessIsContagious, Bourne’s YA novel deals with the important issue of how society as a whole affects the mental health of a particular individual. The writing is very concise but effective. Olive is a difficult protagonist to “relate with” or even at times have a liking for, but I could feel her moods changing in the way the author changes the tone of her voice. I was also surprised by how much I liked almost every character, especially the Camp Reset group. Special mentions to Sophie (whom I could understand best), Lewis (who was the sweetest and the most precious thing ever), and Jamie (who looks like everything I detest but ended up making me want to give him a hug. He is also refreshingly realistic, in a way that I can’t explain further without giving spoilers).

While the novel is mostly fast-paced, at around the 75% mark I started waiting for the inevitable, and it got sort of tiring. I am not sure if it was only me, and I am not even sure of the reason, but there were parts when things got really overwhelming, especially with some of Olive’s internal thought processes. Parts of it made me feel low in a way that goes beyond the usual sadness you feel from reading something sad. I have a feeling that this book should come with some trigger warnings, but I can’t really put my finger on what exactly they should be for? There were just some parts when I had to close the book and tell myself to breathe. Anyway, Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? also does a great job in exploring the topic of mental health, and, in the process, showing how abstract and complex the topic can be.

The best part about the novel is how purposeful it is. The message is strong and beautiful, and the book itself is like a movement. I love how Holly Bourne sort of employs these characters and pages to spread a message beyond the fictional world. It’s been a while since I read a YA book that had such a clear and obvious point to its existence. I cannot not recommend such a book that wants to spread the virus of kindness, and while it’s slightly long and not perfectly flawless, it’s a book that I would want everyone to read. You can’t go wrong in trying to spread kindness.

XO

– Sreepurna.

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