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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teen SPY Review: CRAZY by Amy Reed AND Call for First Pages!

Today, one of our teen spies, Laura (aka Literate Looney), is back with an amazing review of Crazy by Amy Reed

He’s falling in love—and she’s falling over the edge of sanity. From the author of Beautiful and Clean, a heartwrenching exploration of a romance marred by mental illness.
Connor knows that Izzy will never fall in love with him the way he’s fallen for her. But somehow he’s been let into her crazy, exhilarating world and become her closest confidante. But the closer they get, the more Connor realizes that Izzy’s highs are too high and her lows are too low. And the frenetic energy that makes her shine is starting to push her into a much darker place.

As Izzy’s behavior gets increasingly erratic and self-destructive, Connor gets increasingly desperate to stop her from plummeting. He knows he can’t save her from her pain... but what if no one else can.

 Laura's Review: I’ve always loved contemporary, sometimes even more than I love any other genre. There was a time, however, when I almost gave up reading it completely. I needed more from it – a depth, intelligence and seriousness that I could only find in science fiction. I searched high and low for a contemporary that would deliver; something that would blow my mind, keep me up until the single digit hours of morning and that I would think about long after I’d turned the last page. Then I finally found it when I read CRAZY.

Connor and Izzy have a bizarre and beautiful friendship. Now that their summer of being art counselors at camp has ended, they stay in touch via email. At first, the exchanges are funny and they banter back-and-forth so effortlessly, it’s impossible to deny their instant chemistry. Then things start to change. Izzy starts to experience crazy ups-and-downs that show in each one of her return letters and Connor starts to fear the worst about her unpredictable behavior, but at the same time he doesn’t want to betray Izzy’s trust by talking to someone. What follows is a touching coming of age story with a difference as Amy Reed brings to life a young girl with a mental illness and the boy who refuses to give up on her.

The format of this book was wonderful. It’s easily accessible and flows neatly from start to finish. Unlike diary entries, which I find to be long and boring, reading from the perspective of the characters emails was far more compelling. It was a welcomed approach to view their very different lives.

As far as main characters go, Connor and Izzy are fantastic. Their growth throughout the book is very sincere and the emotions they divulge in each of their exchanges are equal parts real and complex. It was so easy for me to sympathize and connect with both of them from the beginning and not once did my feelings waver.

Once again, Reed’s unique writing style has left me speechless. It is vibrant yet somber at the same time, illuminating some of the darker paragraphs. She does not shy away from the more intense problems teens deal with today and instead tackles these issues boldly, rewarding us with stunning novels like CRAZY.

So I only have one final piece of advice – if you’re feeling a little lost, like I was, looking everywhere for a powerful, heartrending read that’ll change your mind about YA contemporaries, then I suggest you go CRAZY.

Thanks, Laura for this beautiful, inspiring review! I’m bumping this up on the summer TBR now!

Laura is one of our SPIES (click here to see their awesomeness!) and every month, these awesome, sleuthy teen SPIES critique a first page of one lucky submitter's manuscript! Authentic feedback from real teen readers? Who's in?!

If you want a chance to have your first page critiqued by our SPIES, send the first page of your YA novel to YAConfidential@gmail.com and one submitter will be randomly chosen to have their page critiqued on the blog by our teen spies! They'll reveal what they liked, what they didn't, and whether or not they'd keep reading! 

Deadline for page submission: June 26!

If you've submitted in previous months, but haven't been selected, feel free to submit again! And thanks again to Laura for a beautiful and insightful review!


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