I first picked up this book because I was struggling with depression myself and was curious how it would be portrayed in this young adult novel.
First of all I was really surprised at how many of the protagonist's feelings and situation mirrored my own. It seems that Ned Vizzini has accomplished the feat of putting emotions into words in this refreshing novel.
In the story Craig has found his life becoming too much for him, feeling immense pressure from all angles such as his family, friends and teachers. He cannot cope to the point that he considers committing suicide. Instead however he admits himself into the psychiatric ward of his hospital. While there he meets a number of charming and troubled characters and tries to find his way back from the depths of depression. Never an easy task!
What I enjoyed most about this book was how the author not only dealt with the despair of mental illness in such a way that it isn't trivialised or melodramatic, but also managed to inject some humour into the story. Craig is such good representation of what it's like to be a teenager today and you may find some of his predicaments familiar and amusing. Craig's fellow patients in the hospital are also hilarious and will change you ideas of what people with mental illness are really like.
Finally I must point out that the story feels very authentic throughout, which is largely because the author himself has been there and experienced the highs and lows of life and depression. So I urge you to give this book a go. Especially if you are suffering from mental illness, read and know that you are not alone and it can get better!