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GET WELL SOON by Julie Halpern


by Julie Halpern

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-312-36795-4
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

In funny, easygoing prose, 16-year-old Anna writes letters while spending three difficult, involuntary weeks in a mental institution. Anna’s parents placed her there because she stopped going to school due to panic attacks, crying jags and death wishes. Socially insecure and self-hating, Anna sardonically notes the hospital’s arbitrary rules and “sticky, slightly padded” walls. Very slowly, she makes friends and even manages a romance (despite a strict no-touching rule). The staff seems useless and harsh (responding to tears, her therapist says, “Shut up, and stop being such a baby”), but Anna’s immense improvement over the three weeks may imply that the doctors help more than she reports. Alternatively, the change could be from anti-depressants and time away from her parents. She develops from an overly obliging bundle of nerves to someone who gets angry. Muddled textual messages about attractiveness portray weight loss as both an unfair (and non-feminist) requirement and also an exciting accomplishment; otherwise, this is an appealingly comic cousin of Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (2003). (Fiction. YA)