Clare Johnson

Clare Johnson, Independent Usborne Organiser


Fiction Book of the Month - Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

1st October 2018

Welcome to Camp Reset - the country's first teen residential camp for brain wellness!

After another bad episode, Olive feels like anything must be worth a try, so when her doctor suggest she tries a month of intensive therapy at Camp Reset, she packs her bags ready for a summer of starting again.

But Olive's desperation for a solution to be normal doesn't come as easily as she thought it would, and she soon finds that Camp Reset isn't without its flaws. Olive doesn't see how all the different therapies will help her, and the other camp mates seem to take an instant dislike to her - or at least the girls do.

And then Olive starts to thinking. Maybe the people running the camp don't understand things in the way she does. Maybe they can't make things right in the way that she can. But what she does know is that the algorithm the camp is using to monitor her safety, could mean so much more than that. If there's an algorithm to predict the risk of suicide, there must be an algorithm for mental illness. There must be a formula for Olive to find her own sanity.

So with the help of maths genius Lewis, Olive sets about finding a formula for mental illness. She knows that if she can just find out how to be sane, she can change her behaviour accordingly. And the more they research about mental illness, and the more they begin to understand it, the more Olive begins to believe that it isn't the people that are insane - it's the world they live in.

But Olive is ill. And the more she obsesses over her algorithm for being sane, the more she starts to lose control of everything else around her...

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes is a powerful exploration of mental health and the world that we live in. It's heart-felt and humorous and challenging, but most importantly it highlights that more than anything we need to be kind to one another. After all, if there was a little more kindness in the world, perhaps it would be a little less difficult for people to thrive in it.

Here's what our Organisers thought about it:

'This is a brilliant book that really lifts the lid on what people, not just teenagers, can face with their mentla health. Holly Bourne, as always, keeps it real and appeals to a wide audience. If you have no idea how mental illness affects people, this book is for you. If you do, this book is also for you. A triumph for mental health awareness.' Anna Koe

'I think this is the perfect book for teenagers and parents of teenagers to read. After all, the world definitely does need more kindness in it, and we all have a part to play in that.' Heidi Thomas

'I read this book whilst on holiday and was totally absorbed into Olive's life. How her moods were descrived was so accurate and I think many teenagers would relate to or benefit from understanding more about the mental health issues raised in this book.' Beth O'Donovan

 

 

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