Characters like Leonard Peacock (i.e., Holden Caulfield, Gene from A Separate Peace, Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Lucky Linderman from Everybody Sees the Ants, etc., etc.) can sometimes seem to be a dime a dozen. They are generally fairly similar in that they seem to have a case of arrested development and have one defining experience that made them who they are (that is easily foretold 200 pages in advance). I’ll admit that it took me awhile to really sink into this book because I thought it was just going to be a knock-off of one of the aforementioned. Although there were similarities, Matthew Quick’s writing set Leonard apart from some of the others. Quick really GETS how to write a character dealing with mental illness (Pat in The Silver Linings Playbook – I mean GENIUS!). Leonard’s pain comes through every page once he REALLY starts letting you in to his life.
Forewarning: Not to insult the youngsters out there since this is a YA book, but it is a YA book for EXTREMELY mature youth. This sucker deals with über depressing, dark and heavy subject matter. It will make you cry the “ugly cry”, but also leaves a message of: