Lovely, Dark and Deep
Lovely, Dark and Deep is a book about one girl’s struggles with grief. It’s full of ups and downs and is perfect for anyone who loves reading angsty stories with lots of emotional baggage unpacking. Ordinarily I’m not as much of a fan of first person perspective writing, but Amy McNamara makes it work so well with Wren’s introspective nature by drawing you into her thoughts. Amy McNamara’s writing is sometimes is very poetic without being over the top, which makes the story flow a little more. Though at times this story can get a little bogged down with Wren’s grief, overall the story moves fairly quickly, which is surprising, considering that the narrative is mostly introspection about Wren’s mental health struggles.
Wren is trying - and failing - to find a way to cope with the losses that were the result of a tragic car accident after a party. Though it wasn’t her fault, she is sent into a persistent depressive spiral from which she can’t seem to escape. Ultimately, she decides to live with her father in a secluded town in Maine, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of New York, where she lived with her mother. For a time, the seclusion seems to only make her situation worse and her father grows concerned for her well-being, but when she meets Cal, things slowly start to look up. He’s slightly older than she is and is dealing with the mental and physical strain of living with multiple sclerosis, so together they can find ways to help each other through the hard days. Ever so slowly, Wren starts stepping out of her comfort zone and learns to live with her grief as they help each other cope.
Wren has good days and bad days, just like everyone else, which makes this story very accessible, especially to readers who struggle with anxiety and depression. If you have questions or concerns about mental health, check out these resources: Teen Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Health, and Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.
If you loved this story as much as I did, here are some other books that are similar: All the Bright Places by Jeniffer Niven (TN NIV), If I Stay by Gayle Forman (TN FOR), It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (Jh VIZ), We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (TN LAC), and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (TN NEL). If you’re looking for more on Amy McNamara, you can find her on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.