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SUICIDE NOTES by Michael Thomas Ford


by Michael Thomas Ford

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-073755-9
Publisher: HarperTeen

Awakening in a psychiatric ward with gauze on his stitched-up wrists, 15-year-old Jeff tries to convince both his doctors and his parents that the cuts were just a bored teenage mistake. As other teens come and go from the ward, Jeff finds himself connecting with them in unexpected ways while confronting his own unresolved turmoil. More Kaysan (Girl, Interrupted, 1993) than Kesey, Ford’s introspective tale follows a fairly typical coming-out process, though with additional angst. Astute readers will identify Jeff’s secret long before his first-person, present-tense narration reveals it, but the skillfully written secondary characters, especially fellow patient Sadie, hold this work above typical gay-teen-suicide dramas. Sadie’s morbid adaptation of “And then there were none” will appeal to those with dark humor and prevents the narrative tone from lecturing. Though offering nothing new or insightful, Jeff’s voice shows true development during his hospitalization. Unlike James Lecesne’s Absolute Brightness (2008), this sometimes melodramatic story is redeemed by creative back stories and touching relationships. (Fiction. YA)