A depressed girl contemplates suicide.
Sixteen-year-old Anna has astonishing talent as an artist, but she feels apart from the world. She has friends and a loving family, all apparently white, but even when her beloved grandmother dies she cannot seem to feel anything. A standout student at an elite arts academy, Anna paints the bridge she hopes to jump from, and it becomes the centerpiece of the school’s art exhibition. Despite failing at several suicide attempts, Anna remains quite determined to kill herself, although she never articulates why, even to herself, and she conceals her impulses from everyone else. At last, however, she makes one too many attempts and winds up hospitalized. There, she receives treatment that brings her back to reality, and she also learns unexpected facts about her family’s past that hold clues to her condition. Kilbourne writes Anna’s story in first-person chapters told by Anna, her mom, and Anna’s best friend, creating suspense by juxtaposing the different viewpoints. It’s a convincing and affecting narrative about depression, stressing the fact that it is not the sufferer’s fault. In the end, readers get a full picture of how good treatment can restore even suicidal patients to a full life. (Readers will wish they could have learned what finally happened to Anna’s bridge painting, though.)
Absorbing. (Fiction. 12-18)