Target Audience: Adults/Young Adults
I would first like to thank Terry Tracy for contacting me to review her novel and for having the patience while I get through the many books I have to read.
Now onto the novel itself!
I have to admit that my usual genre's (although I don't do it on purpose) tend to fall into the YA, Fantasy, Paranormal and romance departments but since I will literally review any genre I was more than happy to give this book a go. I was drawn in by the subject topic itself and, having briefly touched on epilepsy when studying my psychology degree, I was intrigued to learn a bit more. This is much more than just your standard novel. This is a story of life, love, loss, family and identity. The biggest question of all? Does epilepsy define the person or does the person define themselves? And that is the question that Mischa Dunn, the main character in this book, is faced with on a daily basis:
"Mischa Dunn's family flees Chile in the aftermath of the 1973 coup d'etat that installs a military dictatorship. After settling into life in the United States, at the age of fourteen, Mischa begins to have unexplained seizures. Diagnosed with epilepsy, she faces an uncertain life. With an engaging balance of humor, insight, and sensitivity Mischa's story takes the reader across three continents, over thirty years." (Synopsis taken from amazon.co.uk)
I really really loved this book! Mischa's voice was loud and clear in this story and I have amazing admiration for her (and anyone else who has to live with epilepsy) and how she lives her life despite the obstacles she encounters. What I admired the most on a character basis was Misha's ability to live. I know that sounds really weird but she's so strong throughout the novel right until the end and I found that truly inspiring. I wouldn't say she was stubborn in any light, but she is honest, a force to be reckoned with and out to prove herself, something else that I admired her for.
What I will say is that as well as experiencing a fantastic learning curve (I have never learnt so much about one thing from one book before) I also experienced a wonderfully woven story of a young girl growing into an adult and coming into herself.
This book will make you laugh out loud, cry and even, at one stage, be left feeling a little shocked and if I'm honest the ending is incredible on so many different levels and literally made my jaw drop. I won't say why on here, this is a spoiler-free review, but you will understand when you read it.
If I'm honest I can't go into much more detail without spoiling massive chunks of the story. So i'll round off by saying this is a heartwarming, sensitive, enlightening story of a young woman's journey through life. I will also say that this is so well written I felt like I was actually with Mischa on this journey and when you feel like that it makes a book seem so more realistic, and this book feels very real. Terry Tracy has clearly put a lot of her own experience, emotions and thoughts into this book and as a result, it comes across crystal clear to the reader.
Whether you have epilepsy, know someone with epilepsy or fit neither of those categories give this book a read, it will change how you see lots of things, not just how you see epilepsy, but other things such as relationships, making choices and dealing with life in general.
This is one of those novels that will stay with you long after you read it. So back to my original question. Does epilepsy define the person or does the person define themselves? I'll let you read this and decide for yourself, but I know what my conclusion was.