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Freaks Like Us Paperback – 18 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books; Reprint edition (18 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619631636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619631632
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Freaks Like Us is a compelling, superbly crafted story that will hook you and grab you from the first page. More than a book about mental illness written with an insider's knowledge, it is also a love story and a story written with love about young people on the outskirts of what the world calls normal. I urge you to read it (Francisco X Stork, author of 'Marcelo in the Real World')

I love this book. Susan Vaught has absolutely nailed this character, his pain, struggles and triumphs. Bravo! (Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author of Stuck in Neutral)

Poignantly affirming of life and love even in the face of overwhelming loss, this is a haunting tragicomic drama of grief and renewal (Horn Book, starred review of 'Trigger')

Going Underground is full of compelling, fully realized characters (human and parrot alike) who try to muster the courage to move forward.

Listed as one of 'Eight Books That Just Might Change Your Life'

(Bookpage.com)

Mental illness is in danger of becoming just another 'charming personality quirk' in teen fiction among less talented authors clinging to Mark Haddon's coattails but Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught is in a class of its own (Sunday Telegraph) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

For this teenage boy, black clouds have fangs! And he must evade them if he's ever going to see his best friend, and the girl he loves, again. This brilliantly witty and searingly honest coming-of-age story invites you into the mind of a young person with schizophrenia. From award-winning author Susan Vaught --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Berriman VINE VOICE on 3 April 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some years ago I had the idea of writing young adult stories that would introduce the readers to the concepts of various mental illnesses and experiences of those who suffer from them. Clinical Psychologist Susan Vaught has beaten me to it and done a far better job than I ever would have done. The protagonist of the story, Freak, is a boy in his late teens who suffers from schizophrenia. Alongside him are his two best friends Drip, who has ADHD, and Sunshine, who is selectively mute.

At just 240 pages of easy reading Freaks Like Us can be got through quickly. Add in the brilliantly crafted story that keeps you guessing and keeps hinting at things, and you can see how I read this book cover to cover in one sitting! There were times when I was on the edge of my seat in hopeful anticipation, times when I flinched, and times I may have shed a tear or two.

I felt that I could really see inside the mind of someone with schizophrenia, and from my own experience living for 12 years with someone with this illness I can say it seems to be an accurate description. Also accurate was the way the Alphabets (those with various disorder, so called because of the abbreviations of the disorder names) are treated by the Normals; ignored, disregarded, and generally treated as second rate citizens.

But the novel doesn't survive on the mental health aspect alone, and would have still been a decent novel had this element been taken out. All in all an excellent story that pulled me in, took me for an emotional ride, and left me satisfied but hungry for more. I will definitely be checking out this author's other work!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Benner TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Susan Vaught's latest novel, "Freaks Like Us", is a powerful and poignant thriller pitched at young adults and above. The book's central characters are a group of late teenagers, all suffering from various mental illnesses and disorders, with the first-person protagonist, Jason, suffering from severe general anxiety disorder and schizophrenia. As a consequence, he has great difficulty sifting reality from fantasy in his head; when his particularly close school-friend, Sunshine Patton, mysteriously fails to arrive home from school one evening, he rapidly finds himself spirally into confusion and chaos, drawn ever more deeply into the hunt for her. Against a background of escalating urgency, which feeds his own fears and paranoias, he suddenly finds himself the chief suspect in the eyes of both the FBI and the mother of the missing girl. As the hours tick by, Jason's panic that Sunshine is lost to him forever mounts, together with his own suspicions that he himself may indeed be to blame somehow, particularly knowing as he does that there is something that his mind as well as Sunshine herself commanded him to forget. He becomes ever more desperate and despairing. And as he grows more tired -- refusing to sleep, when he could be helping with the search -- or to take his meds -- which impair his ability to think, even as they keep him from completely falling apart, he begins to behave ever less rationally and oddly, increasing the suspicions against him. For Jason, solving the mystery of what has happened to Sunshine becomes an ever more important -- and personal -- matter.

The story is written with a wry mix of humour, grit and pathos. With consummate honesty, the author, through the words of her protagonist, builds an increasingly poignant and utterly engaging tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The best thing about Freaks Like Us is how realistic Jason is as a character. No matter what he does, or what he goes through, I couldn't help but like him. Jason struggles with life and yet he comes through and his observations are more than capable of making you laugh and cry at the same time. Obviously Jason is suffering because of his mental health but; Susan Vaught presents him as a normal boy 'with a difference' and not a handicap. One of the highlights of the novel is the relationship between Jason, Drip and Sunshine. They have real friendship and their level of care for one another adds a lot of warmth to the plot. However; it's that relationship which is severly tested when 'the bad thing' happens (no telling you what it is - read the book) and it's so emotional and sad.

Jason is schizophrenic, Expect him to perceive the world in a different way. He does take medication, hear voices and he's in a different educational system to most of the other kids. Where this book is clever is the way in which Jason tells you all about it in the voice of a normal kid who has an illness. He accepts his illness but; he'll challenge the way in which you perceive people with mental health issues and question your attitude towards them.

Is Jason a Freak? Absolutely not.
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By L. H. Healy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of three friends, one of whom, seventeen-year-old Jason Milwaukee, is the first person narrator. Sunshine goes missing and the mystery of the story is in trying to resolve where she is and why she has disappeared, with Jason struggling to remember what she had said to him before she disappeared, her voice fighting with the other, overpowering voices in his head.

Jason, who is telling the story here, is SCZI - schizophrenic. Sunshine is SM - selectively mute, and Drip (Derrick) has ADHD. Collectively they, and others like them who suffer mental illnesses tagged by such initials, refer to themselves as `alphabets'. As Jason's father explains to FBI Agent Mercer, `"It's a word Jason and Sunshine and Derrick use to describe themselves as a group. It feels better to them than any of the disorder-disability talk."'

Jason often refers to his mother and father by their professional ranks of the colonel and the captain. His parents divorced when he was twelve and when we meet him he is living with his father. Jason is also referred to as "Freak" and tells Agent Mercer frankly: "Everybody calls me that. You can."

The tension builds in the story as the hours go by since Sunshine has been gone. Susan Vaught's writing feels compassionate and honest in dealing with mental health in teenagers, how it feels to them to be different, to be classed as SED - Severely Emotionally Disturbed. The author is a practicing psychologist. She conveys the intensity of the struggle to deal with his affliction throughout every waking moment, through Jason's hurried speech and transcribing the talk he hears from all of the different, competing voices in his head - the style of writing reflects the chaos of Jason's mind and thoughts and the voices.
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