I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers Genres: Depression, General, Humorous, LGBT, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
Think positive. Don’t worry; be happy. Keep calm and carry on.
Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.
Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?
It took me forever to finish this book. I started reading it back in June and just could not find any enjoyment in it at all. It was slow, tedious, and at times infuriating. I was getting giddy when I finally got to the last few chapters. That’s how much I disliked this book.
The only good thing I can say about 10 Things I Can See from Here is that the portrayal of severe anxiety is genuine. And I say this as a person who deals with severe anxiety (+ depression) on a day to day basis (I’m basically a shut-in recluse). But, hear me out, I despised Maeve. She’s so irritating and I don’t understand what made Salix so interested in her. Salix was interesting, but I don’t feel like she was very fleshed out. She’s cute. She plays the violin. And likes Maeve for reasons unknown to me. And I don’t even know. The romance was very meh to me. I also didn’t care for the family drama. It wrapped up too neatly despite the serious circumstances of addiction and implied other problems.
What I didn’t like about Maeve was her attitude about certain things (sometimes so blindingly selfish and just plain awful). Take, for example, her attitude towards her mom’s new boyfriend.
I wish he’d just keel over and die: a stroke, a clot in his lungs, a heart attack. That would be fitting. Dying of a heart attack just as he was falling in love with someone who was neither available or suitable. Or even appropriate. Served him right. (pg. 54)
Like, really? Really? Your mom is a single woman capable of making her own decisions concerning her love life. Your own shady dad remarried for goodness sake. She does recant what she wishes for and feels bad for thinking that way, but that is some messed up stuff.
Another thing that came off really irritating was this:
When I told my dad and Claire that I was gay, Dad laughed. I can see why, he said. And then he winked. I like girls too. I cringed. And then Claire: I knew it! She hugged me. You know, I had a girlfriend for about three months back in college.
But one girl crush back in college didn’t make her gay. Not really. I never said I was, she said when my dad teased her about being a lesbian. I suppose that I’m technically bi-sexual, she said. If you want to label me.
He gave her a look I had no trouble deciphering.
Being queer was also about not being into boys. Just as it was about attraction, it was about an absence of attraction, like white space. There wouldn’t be white space if I liked both. But I didn’t. (pg. 144).
??? Maybe I’m not getting it, but it comes across a little bi-phobic to me. And totally brushes Claire’s relationship off as a “girl crush.” It’s not a competition as to who likes girls more, Maeve. Come on.
As for the writing style, I didn’t like it. However, it shows the abrupt, choppy thoughts that anxiety often brings—but it gave me terrible anxiety to read it.
I’m just so glad to be done with this book.