This is the story of a girl, her gay best friend, and the boy in love with both of them.
Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over as a new student at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to act like a normal, functioning human this time around, not a girl who sometimes can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.
Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with a mischievous glint in his eye.
Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and secret road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.
As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.
Very much like Eleanor and Park or I'll Give You The Sun, this novel explored lots of teenage weirdness, from depression to sexuality. So Mira is the new girl at Jeremy's school, and as Jeremy comes out of his shell, he quickly grows close to her and Sebby and their way of protecting themselves from the boring and ordinary.
Let's start with Sebby. He's is a foster kid, growing up in a group home. He's also mostly gay and poor and has sticky fingers and hands out sexual favours in the toilets of a mall. Despite that shocking revelation, he was really sweet and complicated; it was obvious he had plenty of issues but for the most part, really wanted to get better, get a better life. Best friend Mira has serious depression issues; after an attempt to take her life landed her in the hospital and the psych ward, she takes refuge in the magical, the almost-impossible, the wishes for extraordinary.
Jeremy has been horrible bullied for having two dads and for being gay. Not that is a truth he's admitted to himself but it was gratified on his locker and he suffered many a hurtful comment. So when Mira and Sebby welcome him into their magical world of escapism, he is happy for the change, for some true friends. Told from all three perspectives, you see inside their heads, attempt to make sense of their actions and feelings. It was brutally honest; as I've already mentioned, it talks about sex, sexuality, self-harm, alcoholism to name but a few, but sometimes I thought it was trying to be so out there, there was no normal left, nothing recognisable. All in all, a great commentary on the truly tough issues for teens alongside the fairly normal stuff of finding yourself and real friendship.
Published 10th September 2015 by Macmillan Childrens. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.