Words on Bathroom Walls GIVEAWAY with Bargain Books
If you guys know me at all, you know that contemporary literature is not really my thing. I’m a fantasy girl through and through, and contemporary novels have a tendency to irritate the living daylights out of me. However, every now and then I lay my hands on a sweet, sweet YA contemporary gem and it steals my soul and consumes my brain and ruins my entire life. Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton was one of those novels, and the wonderful humans over at Bargain Books are giving me the opportunity to share this story with one of my readers.
Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.
Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.
It’s become evident since I started working on this blog that I am almost incapable of discussing a book without spoiling EVERYTHING (I just like to talk about my feelings), but because of the fact that I’m getting the chance to give this novel away to one of my readers, I will restrain myself from ruining the premise entirely.
Words on Bathroom Walls is told in the form of letters written by Adam, our main character, to a doctor who is monitoring his response to a new drug intended to help him manage his schizophrenia. Open, honest, self-deprecating Adam is an absolute whirlwind of a main character who steals your heart from his very first letter: he leaves nothing unsaid and his humour and wit shine through in every word he says.
This way of telling Adam’s story gives the reader a really deep, intimate look into the mind of a character dealing with schizophrenia, which I feel made the representation of the mental illness thorough, accurate and seriously enlightening. Adam knows when he’s losing control and shares these feelings and experiences, often in excruciating detail. I really appreciated the way Walton used this novel as an opportunity to educate readers on the illness, what schizophrenia really means and how it can manifest differently in different people. Whilst Adam is aware of his symptoms and at least somewhat capable of differentiating between what’s real and what’s not, he presses on the fact that this was not always the case and it does not, in fact, always improve his situation. His experience with the medication fluctuates throughout the story as his dosage increases and decreases, and it is ultimately determined that there is currently no medical cure for schizophrenia. However, Adam’s hope, perseverance and support system portray how he manages to live a normal life despite his condition.
I do have to note that Adam constantly refers to himself as ‘crazy’. This is something that may be triggering or offensive to readers with mental illnesses and wasn’t the most sensitive approach to the subject. However, this story highlighted Adam’s personal feelings and experiences with his illness – using humour and a lighthearted approach is a coping mechanism favoured by many and it was interesting to read such a self-aware character.
Another positive aspect of this novel was the romantic relationship. Adam’s girlfriend, Maya, is logical and calculated, the perfect balance to his chaos. However, they’re both sixteen, struggling with their own issues, and to put it bluntly they both kind of suck at it. Adam tries to hide his schizophrenia from Maya, which of course doesn’t go well for him; but his fears and her reactions made their relationship incredibly natural, realistic and typical of a high school romance. Adam and Maya portray the difficulties of being with someone who has a mental illness, as well as the kind of support each of them needs. By the end of the book, Julia Walton managed to neatly skip around the “love-cure” trope and avoid all the unhealthy dependency traps which was just MAGICAL and so important in a novel about mental health.
Aside from all that majorly important stuff, this book is simply precious and absolutely hilarious. The secondary characters were wonderful, Adam’s relationship with his mom and step-dad is so beautiful and pure, and the fact that Adam is such an avid baker just melts my heart. Adam made me laugh and cry on numerous occasions and I polished off this book in one evening. This is a story that I feel is so important for everyone to read, whether they have schizophrenia themselves, are close to someone with the illness or haven’t been exposed to it at all and need to get a little insight. Everyone. Should. Read. This. And thanks to Bargain Books, one of you can!
The giveaway we are running is happening over on my Instagram page (@palegoldpages) so be sure to click that link to find out how you can win a copy of this gorgeous book. Also, check out Bargain Books on their social media too, to keep up to date with what else they’ve got in store for us bookworms.
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