by Kate Evangelista
Another YA about mental illness, which I wanted to read in particular because of the subject matter: one of the main characters, Didi, is bipolar. Unfortunately, this type of book isn\’t really to my taste, so although I found it amusing, somewhat interesting and heartwarming in the end, I really had to force myself to finish reading it; sorry to say but a lot felt just downright shallow and cheesy. And if you are interested yourself in reading it, skip after the paragraph below because I wrote a bunch of spoilers.
It\’s about a rich boy Caleb, who wants to take a gap year partying and touring Europe with his cousin before college. Gets in trouble with his dad and has to do an internship at the company, required to attend all the public functions thrown by said company. He needs a date for all these events, but has already burned his bridges with every available female in his social circle. There\’s an incident in the country club where he\’s dining when dumps his current girlfriend, and the waitress Didi catches his eye. So he ends up asking her to be his fake girlfriend for the summer, and in return he will pose for her (she\’s an artist).
It\’s a complete mismatch. Caleb lives in a mansion, drives sporty cars, throws money around like it\’s nothing. Didi and her mother barely make ends meet, her mom has to work several jobs and sometimes they have to decide between paying the electric bill, or for Didi\’s medications. Of course, in spite of this huge disparity and predictable a mile away, Did and Caleb fall in love regardless. Most of the story is about the social affairs they attend, and the constant not-so-subtle flirting between Didi and Caleb. To her credit, I liked Didi. She\’s thrown into a completely foreign environment; alternately stunned, bemused or offended when Caleb or his cousin offer to casually buy her things (a new cell phone, outfits, accessories and makeup for the parties), navigates the social circles with apparent ease at the functions- thrilled by the excitement and lavish gatherings more than anything else. But after all the thrills and heightened feelings, there\’s got to be a down. A really hard one, because Didi deliberately goes off her meds (so she can paint more) and then there\’s literally a crash. (Annoyingly, all the scenes in the hospital felt unrealistic). Caleb finally finds out about her diagnosis, and it looks like it might be the end. But the man cuts short his Europe trip to return- Didi is unlike any other girl he\’s known, and he really does love her, so he comes back and declares (in a wonderfully romantic museum setting date) that he will stick with her regardless of the difficulties ahead. Really lovely ending, but it all just felt so poorly described to me. The parts about Didi being bipolar didn\’t feel like a main part of the story, just an additional characteristic to support part of the plot, which was disappointing. And I liked that she was an artist, but that part didn\’t feel real to me either. Oh well.
Borrowed from the public library.
Rating: 2/5 231 pages, 2016