Review: Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

Title: Definitions of Indefinable Things
Author: Whitney Taylor
Pages: 336
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Free ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Rating: C

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Summary: Two teenagers who suffer from depression find some of what they need in each other.

Review: Lately, I’ve been drawn to stories about depression, anxiety, mental illness in general, and particularly those in the YA genre. I suspect we all find ourselves drawn to fictional accounts that jive a little with our own lives, and that is definitely the case here. And I suspect that I’ve been leaning towards YA for stories surrounding mental illness because they so often take a softer approach, and I’m not in a place where I feel comfortable getting “hit hard”, if that makes sense.

Well, I’ll tell you that if that is what you really want, that is definitely what you’ll get here: a YA novel that is built on two teenagers battling their own forms of depression, that is written with a soft approach. Emotionally, I didn’t feel much. Their individual experiences with depression were realistic, to the degree that anything real was shared. Ultimately, I think it could easily have gone deeper, and I would have been more satisfied.

The characters were interesting, as was the plot itself, and the writing was perfectly adequate. But I wanted more. While Reggie was well fleshed out, and I really liked her (even if she was sometimes a bit tiring), so why didn’t I feel anything? I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but if a character is in pain, as a reader I expect to feel connected to that pain, and I just didn’t. Ultimately, I never felt like I had any skin in the game, and that was disappointing.

But, it’s a perfectly adequate book, a worthwhile story, good character development. I just expected something different than what I got.

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