Frayed by Kara Terzis

Challenge 34 ~ “A book about mental illness.”

frayed

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Frayed was another of the 2016 releases that ended up leaving me breathless and eager for some more YA. Terzis handled some complex topics with an engaging plot, an entertaining style and realistic characters, pulling together a novel that is a thrill to read. With some great twists that are unpredictable yet not out of place, the reader is effectively kept on edge until the final reveal, which is then pulled together in an appropriate and reflective conclusion.

For me, the focus of Frayed was a considerable strength of the novel – Terzis’ handled the theme of mental illness with respect and knowledge, but simultaneously didn’t unnecessarily dwell on it. Many novels about mental illnesses use this plot point as the main focus to the storyline and the protagonist’s life, whilst Terzis used it more subtly, emphasising how those who suffer are more than just their mental illness. This added an element of suspense and unpredictability to the novel, whilst also making it a more accurate representation of life with a mental illness.

Terzis’ presentation was also worthy of merit. Combining a letter and textual approach has been pretty common in my recent reads from the young adult world, and this was particularly effective in Frayed. The latter of these added momentum to the plot, explaining relevant background and portraying the main storyline, whilst the former offered a reflective investigation into life with a mental illness, posing many rhetorical questions that provided significant food for thought to the reader. In doing so, Terzis added further depth and respect to her investigation of mental illness and its role in a teenager’s everyday life.

First picking up the novel, I was expecting a nice young adult tale about the mystery behind a murdered sister – one I was hoping would be an engaging, quaint little tale. Terzis, however, turned that on its head, giving the reader both this side, but also a darker story, ending with a greater unexpected twist than your average mystery has in total. If all Terzis’ work is of this quality, it is clear to see why she was the winner of the Sourcebooks Story Development Prize. From such an incredible debut novel, I hope Terzis continues from strength to strength, and I look forward to reading her future works!

Recommended for fans of:

  • I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • Torn by Cat Clarke

 

N.B.: This ebook was received from Netgallery in return for a reflective and honest review.

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