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Juliet the Maniac

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A shockingly dark, funny, and heartbreaking portrait of a young teenager's clash with mental illness and her battle toward understanding and recovery Ambitious, talented 14-year-old honors student Juliet is poised for success at her Southern California high school. However, she soon finds herself on an increasingly frightening spiral of drug use, self-harm, and mental illne A shockingly dark, funny, and heartbreaking portrait of a young teenager's clash with mental illness and her battle toward understanding and recovery Ambitious, talented 14-year-old honors student Juliet is poised for success at her Southern California high school. However, she soon finds herself on an increasingly frightening spiral of drug use, self-harm, and mental illness that lands her in a remote therapeutic boarding school, where she must ultimately find the inner strength, and determination, to survive.


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A shockingly dark, funny, and heartbreaking portrait of a young teenager's clash with mental illness and her battle toward understanding and recovery Ambitious, talented 14-year-old honors student Juliet is poised for success at her Southern California high school. However, she soon finds herself on an increasingly frightening spiral of drug use, self-harm, and mental illne A shockingly dark, funny, and heartbreaking portrait of a young teenager's clash with mental illness and her battle toward understanding and recovery Ambitious, talented 14-year-old honors student Juliet is poised for success at her Southern California high school. However, she soon finds herself on an increasingly frightening spiral of drug use, self-harm, and mental illness that lands her in a remote therapeutic boarding school, where she must ultimately find the inner strength, and determination, to survive.

30 review for Juliet the Maniac

  1. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    ___________________________________ "It is hard to tease out the beginning. When I was living it, my disintegration seemed sudden, like I had once been whole but then my reality swiftly slipped apart into sand. Not even sand, but slime, something desperate and oozing and sick. But looking back - I was a slow burn that eventually imploded." Juliet Escoria has moments of literary brilliance, I mean just read that opening quote. This book, however, fell really flat for me. It's a fiction book that re ___________________________________ "It is hard to tease out the beginning. When I was living it, my disintegration seemed sudden, like I had once been whole but then my reality swiftly slipped apart into sand. Not even sand, but slime, something desperate and oozing and sick. But looking back - I was a slow burn that eventually imploded." Juliet Escoria has moments of literary brilliance, I mean just read that opening quote. This book, however, fell really flat for me. It's a fiction book that reads like an autobiography, complete with the main character having the same first and last name of the author. I can only assume this story is rooted in fact. I'm not a fan of memoirs. I'm not a fan of straightforward first person stories being told in a chronological order. Juliet IS this story. The entire book rests on Juliet's character. And as a character she is monotone, unremarkable and easily forgettable. She's written in a manner that left me emotionless where I should have felt anything but. There are a lot of great books out there that deal with mental illness in teenagers in a raw and unflinching way, this book, however, is not one of them. ___________________________________ I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bud Smith

    A really great novel. It’s about a teenage girl who loses her mind and goes looking for it in an institution. Reading this reminded me how great art can be when it’s wounded and weird and funny and strange where the heart is. Takes place in the 90s, back blurb compares it to the Bell Jar and Girl, Interrupted. I thought it was its own beast. I thought it was wild and fun, and devastating, and cool.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott Mcclanahan

    Uh huh. Get ready.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I've been struggling for a few days over how to review Juliet the Maniac. From reading other reviews on here it seems a lot of people went into this with totally the wrong expectations (either being misled by the cute coloured cover or the apparent YA categorisation on Netgalley) but that isn't what I'm struggling with - it was in fact exactly what I thought it would be, albeit even better. This is some stellar auto fiction which (seemingly, it's hard to be sure) draws closely on the author's own I've been struggling for a few days over how to review Juliet the Maniac. From reading other reviews on here it seems a lot of people went into this with totally the wrong expectations (either being misled by the cute coloured cover or the apparent YA categorisation on Netgalley) but that isn't what I'm struggling with - it was in fact exactly what I thought it would be, albeit even better. This is some stellar auto fiction which (seemingly, it's hard to be sure) draws closely on the author's own experiences with her mental health as a teenager. We meet Juliet when she is 14 and starting a new school, and from here things quickly spiral - increased anxiety, self-harm, drug abuse, suicide attempts - while Juliet maintains a collected and coherent voice the entire time throughout the narrative. The effect of this is that we can never quite tell when things are going to get better or worse for her, probably much like Juliet herself cannot. When reading this the only book I could think to compare it to was The Trick is to Keep Breathing, although in hindsight they are really quite different books - however they are similarly great books allowing access into the inner mind of a young woman suffering from mental health issues in an incredibly realistic manner.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aga Durka

    4 Haunting Stars! “ …I truly felt like I had a broken brain. Except it wasn’t even my brain. It was a brain of a homicidal maniac. She was trying to kill me…” A story told by a 14-year-old Juliet, is a story of drug addition, mental illness, and teenage rebellion. This is an unapologetic, raw, and ruthlessly honest account of a young girl’s struggle to fight the demons of mental illness. It was a heart-wrenching, dark, and horrifying read for me, but I admired Juliet’s ability to distance herself 4 Haunting Stars! “ …I truly felt like I had a broken brain. Except it wasn’t even my brain. It was a brain of a homicidal maniac. She was trying to kill me…” A story told by a 14-year-old Juliet, is a story of drug addition, mental illness, and teenage rebellion. This is an unapologetic, raw, and ruthlessly honest account of a young girl’s struggle to fight the demons of mental illness. It was a heart-wrenching, dark, and horrifying read for me, but I admired Juliet’s ability to distance herself from some truly disturbing and painful events in her journey to recovery. The writing was superb and it really allowed me to get inside of Juliet’s mind and experience with her the darkness and pain of her illness and addiction. Even though Juliet’s thoughts and actions were often unemotional and disturbing, I was still able to feel the inner turmoil her body and mind were going through. Thank you NetGalley, Melville House Publishing, and the author, Juliet Escoria, for giving me an opportunity to read this haunting and heart-wrenching book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I couldn't possibly do this book justice by reviewing it. It was SO incredible and so accurate in all of her descriptions from the way that she felt to psychiatric hospitalization to the effects that the different drugs have. I found pieces of myself in Juliet's story, frequently snapping pictures of certain pages or jotting lines down in my notebook. Honestly, I'll have to buy a copy so that I can highlight the crap out of it (I don't think the library would appreciate that much). Beautifully d I couldn't possibly do this book justice by reviewing it. It was SO incredible and so accurate in all of her descriptions from the way that she felt to psychiatric hospitalization to the effects that the different drugs have. I found pieces of myself in Juliet's story, frequently snapping pictures of certain pages or jotting lines down in my notebook. Honestly, I'll have to buy a copy so that I can highlight the crap out of it (I don't think the library would appreciate that much). Beautifully done.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Infectiously readable and excellently executed, Juliet the Maniac is a brilliant cross between memoir and fiction. Escoria packs a million little punches, reminding the reader just how much truth is written into these page, sharing some of the most personal moments of her teenage years via scans of the letters she wrote, her initial hospital bracelet, and patient evaluation statuses. Cracking the book open, I was worried that I'd focus too heavily on the blending of fact vs fiction, wondering wh Infectiously readable and excellently executed, Juliet the Maniac is a brilliant cross between memoir and fiction. Escoria packs a million little punches, reminding the reader just how much truth is written into these page, sharing some of the most personal moments of her teenage years via scans of the letters she wrote, her initial hospital bracelet, and patient evaluation statuses. Cracking the book open, I was worried that I'd focus too heavily on the blending of fact vs fiction, wondering which parts were pure memory and which were mostly made up to pull the story along and fill in gaps or dull spots, but honestly, I was so completely absorbed in the story of Juliet that it barely crossed my mind. If you really get down to it, mental illness aside, much of what our teenage Juliet goes through - the self esteem issues, drug use and sexual experimentation - is something many of us can relate to and reflect on. What was our teenage years if not a melting pot of hormones going haywire, the feeling that we're losing our minds and going crazy, questioning who we are and how we fit in, hating how we look and sound, reinventing ourselves a thousand times over until we're reasonable comfortable in our skin? It's pretty and devastating and manic and though there's a ton more to unpack here, through Juliet the Maniac, Escoria gives us a tender and safe way to explore all of that through the lens of troubled and drug addicted young girl who wishes for nothing more than to be normal.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Sullivan

    “Not once did anyone ever talk about what it was like when the trauma was yourself.” This stark, unsentimental novel puts readers inside the head of Juliet, a teenager in the late 1990s battling bipolar disorder, drug addiction, and suicidal ideation. The first-person narrative is cleverly supplemented with reports from therapists and psychiatrists on Juliet’s diagnosis, behavior and condition to juxtapose her internal perspective with the external. While it’s a raw and candid account of an adolesc “Not once did anyone ever talk about what it was like when the trauma was yourself.” This stark, unsentimental novel puts readers inside the head of Juliet, a teenager in the late 1990s battling bipolar disorder, drug addiction, and suicidal ideation. The first-person narrative is cleverly supplemented with reports from therapists and psychiatrists on Juliet’s diagnosis, behavior and condition to juxtapose her internal perspective with the external. While it’s a raw and candid account of an adolescent in the throes of mental illness, there lacked a sense of freshness or novelty about this often written about subject. Most compelling to me was not the redundant progression of Juliet’s life (get high, self-harm, repeat), but the more introspective insights on the horrors of mental illness: that claustrophobia of being unable to escape your own mind. I wouldn’t consider this Young Adult fiction, however I can see it appealing to teenage readers probably more than adults. *Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    this one hit really close to home and i had to read it in spaced-apart bits. the hardest parts were the photocopied notes and letters and diary entries. heartbreaking book; it'll wake you up, but it'll hurt.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    DNF - i tried to like this, i wanted to like this, and at first i did. But after part one it got very boring and redundant. It was the same thing over and over and felt more like an edgier YA book with lots of drug use and sex. It just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I get that it was more so an autobiographical novel and i feel bad giving someone else’s trauma 1 Star but the way it was delivered In diary form just really didn’t keep me invested, i hope anyone who is excited for this book love DNF - i tried to like this, i wanted to like this, and at first i did. But after part one it got very boring and redundant. It was the same thing over and over and felt more like an edgier YA book with lots of drug use and sex. It just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I get that it was more so an autobiographical novel and i feel bad giving someone else’s trauma 1 Star but the way it was delivered In diary form just really didn’t keep me invested, i hope anyone who is excited for this book loves it and gets more out of it than me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This book made me uncomfortable in the best way possible. I usually find it challenging, at this point in my life, to read books from the teen daughter's perspective. This book was so well-done my skin was crawling and I had to take breaks to get my breath. What I often find challenging is understanding the cross-section of teenage behavior and mental illness. Escoria did a brilliant job by clouding the issue of agency. The confusion of the narrator, Juliet, was wrought so well that I had to ima This book made me uncomfortable in the best way possible. I usually find it challenging, at this point in my life, to read books from the teen daughter's perspective. This book was so well-done my skin was crawling and I had to take breaks to get my breath. What I often find challenging is understanding the cross-section of teenage behavior and mental illness. Escoria did a brilliant job by clouding the issue of agency. The confusion of the narrator, Juliet, was wrought so well that I had to imagine how frightening it must have been for her character to be at that stage of development. People are using the words brutal, and raw a lot in their reviews . . . there is the brashness of youth unfettered in here. The characters are allowed to speak freely. However, there is a tenderness shown to the narrator that I found quite touching. The softness is subtle, and all the more powerful as a result. Escoria's poetic talent is in full display with the excellent chapter titles. They are great. I loved the inclusion of photos, artifacts, and reflective voice from the present. Can't say enough about the structure.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    Dark and beautiful and so well-written. An extremely empathetic story for anyone who's ever dealt with mental illness. Every raw thought and emotion is both so eloquent and believable as the voice of the teenaged narrator. This book kept me up at night.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Kym

    I hate that I have a weakness for a shade of pink book covers. I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest book review. It’s very disturbing. Sure, the character is experiencing mental health issues and it's not something light to discuss, it was brave for the author to tell Juliet’s story, how she was able to write what was happening to the character’s mind, and I don’t expect perfection or a good plot because the mi I hate that I have a weakness for a shade of pink book covers. I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest book review. It’s very disturbing. Sure, the character is experiencing mental health issues and it's not something light to discuss, it was brave for the author to tell Juliet’s story, how she was able to write what was happening to the character’s mind, and I don’t expect perfection or a good plot because the mind or POV of the character itself is a huge web string of emotions. I can't relate to Juliet but I understand her issues and worries - I tried to. It was difficult for me to read her thoughts knowing she's a vulnerable teenager and at the same time trying to contemplate her existence. I just want to give her a hug and comfort her.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Maloney

    Confession: I think most books are boring. Like, I slog through them--blah blah blah--and mostly I'm just excited to get to the end. JULIET THE MANIAC is the opposite. I had fun reading every page of this book. Juliet cuts the bullshit. She's an amazing storyteller without being overly fancy or lofty or dramatic. The novel has drawings and letters and feels like a genuine diary of a dark past without being sentimental or nostalgic. Read, read, read this. 1000/1000 stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Crupi

    There’s a long tradition of novels about teenage girls suffering mental illness and this fits nicely into the genre. I was captivated throughout and loved Juliet’s voice. But perhaps being the next in a long line of books with similar subject matter means you expect something more. Escoria is married to Scott McClanahan and I feel like I know them both intimately as their fiction feels so personal. I don’t of course but still it’s an interesting feeling.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Loving

    From what I posted on Instagram: I. loved. this. I read it in almost one sitting; I wanted to keep reading but fell asleep four hours in, after it literally plopped on my doorstep and I ran out to grab it. I’d ordered it with the new one-day shipping on Prime, which I felt sort of guilty about, but I somehow knew I would love it and wanted to read it immediately. There were SO MANY beautiful lines, but I managed to just underline this one -- "We ran around in the sand, splashing in the shallow p From what I posted on Instagram: I. loved. this. I read it in almost one sitting; I wanted to keep reading but fell asleep four hours in, after it literally plopped on my doorstep and I ran out to grab it. I’d ordered it with the new one-day shipping on Prime, which I felt sort of guilty about, but I somehow knew I would love it and wanted to read it immediately. There were SO MANY beautiful lines, but I managed to just underline this one -- "We ran around in the sand, splashing in the shallow part of the waves, the crescent moon glinting off the water like money." -- once I thought of it. It was stellar writing that wasn’t overly aware of its stellar-ness. It’s also inspired me to embrace (writing) autofiction more than I have been. Read this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    Brutal. This book reads far more like fiction than it does a memoir, and I mean that in the best way possible since I tore through it, completely unable to put it down. I haven't come across a book that describes what it's like having bipolar disorder as well as this one does, and there were so many moments where I couldn't breathe because a particular example or story of Juliet's sounded so much like one of my own personal experiences before I was on some damn good medication. Juliet's wild emo Brutal. This book reads far more like fiction than it does a memoir, and I mean that in the best way possible since I tore through it, completely unable to put it down. I haven't come across a book that describes what it's like having bipolar disorder as well as this one does, and there were so many moments where I couldn't breathe because a particular example or story of Juliet's sounded so much like one of my own personal experiences before I was on some damn good medication. Juliet's wild emotions and thought processes as she progresses from newly diagnosed troubled teen to the very end where she goes on kind of like a vision quest with the rest of her RTS classmates are clear, brutal, and raw. Escoria's candid writing style is effective, and sometimes it's reminiscent of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar without being an outright copy or even an attempted copy of Plath's writing. All of this being said, I can understand how this book would be triggering for anyone struggling with mental illness of any kind. Even though Juliet gets to a place of healing at the end of the book, her whole journey could possibly trigger someone, so if that's something you're concerned about as a reader who might be personally affected...then there's your warning. What a painfully powerful book. I only hope to see more of Escoria's writing, and I especially hope to see a follow up to Juliet the Maniac that shows us what happened next. Highly recommend. Edit, 1/18/2019: I went back and looked and saw that this is a NOVEL, which makes sense since I said in the beginning that it reads like a novel. It's an autobiographical novel but officially labelled as a novel, so there you go.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    4.5 stars. The opening is iconic, how each element builds: first, the simple chord progression – E major to C sharp minor, G sharp to A major – strummed on an acoustic guitar, working in tandem with high-pitched background vocals yelping “wooo ooooh”. Next, a snare drum acting as an emergency flare, all but signaling the entrance to THE RIFF, one so celebrated it would be easy to forget what immediately follows. And yet it’s what comes next – the opening verse – that’s most impactful: “With your f 4.5 stars. The opening is iconic, how each element builds: first, the simple chord progression – E major to C sharp minor, G sharp to A major – strummed on an acoustic guitar, working in tandem with high-pitched background vocals yelping “wooo ooooh”. Next, a snare drum acting as an emergency flare, all but signaling the entrance to THE RIFF, one so celebrated it would be easy to forget what immediately follows. And yet it’s what comes next – the opening verse – that’s most impactful: “With your feet on the air and your head on the ground, try this trick and spin it, yeah. Your head will collapse but there's nothing in it and you'll ask yourself ‘where is my mind?’” Whether or not Juliet Escoria is a Pixies fan is insignificant. That said I couldn’t help thing of the band’s seminal 1988 song “Where is My Mind?” upon finishing her bleak, brutal debut “novel”, Juliet the Maniac. Blending fiction with her own personal history, the author attempts to locate her mind through a series of confessionals, clippings, patient logs, and handwritten letters. Fittingly, the result aptly parallels the chaos synonymous with the mental illness and addiction Escoria struggled with as a teenager. “A slow burn that eventually imploded,” Juliet recognizes her instability at an early age as an honor student in a well-to-do San Diego neighborhood. She rebels, experiments with drugs (lots and lots of drugs), hallucinates, attempts suicide. It’s not so much that every day is a struggle; every moment of every day is. She’s removed from school in favor of an institution, and then removed from that institution in favor of a boarding school. Her story is not new, or special. On the surface she’s just another hopeless, fucked up rich kid. Despite this, two things in particular make Juliet the Maniac stand out: its aforementioned execution, and the voice of its creator. Escoria seamlessly mixes a hodgepodge – better still, a cocktail – of entries yet still manages to maintain a linear narrative throughout Juliet the Maniac. It’s a surgical methodology; perhaps not so coincidentally she compares herself to Frankenstein towards the novel’s conclusion (although for different reasons). But it’s one that works thanks to her raw, resounding prose. Nary are there any flowery passages describing her highest highs; Escoria instead opts for the brutally honest approach. Needless to say, the truth hurts. Because of this, Juliet the Maniac won’t be for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not for most people. Many of us spend the majority of our lives right side up, or in an attempt to remain that way; oftentimes we take for granted how easily life can be uncontrollably flipped upside down, how easily our minds can be lost. Juliet the Maniac is a harrowing reminder. It’s also a rewarding one. To which I say: try this trick and spin it, yeah.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

    This is the type of book that reminds me why writing and reading are so important. Reading a book like this and recognizing a bit of yourself is realizing that, even if it’s fiction, there’s someone else out there who has been through what you have. Someone else who feels what you feel. You don’t have to be alone. It is so comforting, and I wish I’d read more books like these when I was a teenager. I’m not entirely sure, but I think this book must be in part based on the author’s own personal exp This is the type of book that reminds me why writing and reading are so important. Reading a book like this and recognizing a bit of yourself is realizing that, even if it’s fiction, there’s someone else out there who has been through what you have. Someone else who feels what you feel. You don’t have to be alone. It is so comforting, and I wish I’d read more books like these when I was a teenager. I’m not entirely sure, but I think this book must be in part based on the author’s own personal experience though it is explicitly called “a novel” on the cover. Perhaps it fits in the category termed autofiction? There are bits of ephemera—a photo of a medical bracelet, letters, doctor’s notes—all with the author’s name on them, and of course, the lead character and narrator shares her name. Juliet is an average girl growing up in the late 90s, but the book follows her personal mental unraveling and everything that comes with it. All the questions—how do you fit in at school, find love, have friends, know what to say to your family—when inside you feel broken and desperately different from those around you? This is an open and honest portrait of experience, of learning to live life fully despite whatever disorder you might have. Escoria is also a wonderful and raw writer, each page feeling like its own poem, its own diary entry. If you are a fan of The Bell Jar then you will definitely love this one. My 100th book of 2019! My thanks to Melville House for sending me this one to read and review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    The revelatory descriptions and observations that made Black Cloud, in its fragmentation, one of my favourite books seem to be most densely concentrated at the start, which is, perhaps, understandable, or perhaps because it most clearly mirrors my own experience, the weird wasteland of adolescent mental health intervention. Either way, a good book to get me back into reading, if, perhaps inevitably, hopefully, relatively briefly.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Review to follow.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shannon McLeod

    This book was incredible. Intense, funny, tender, deeply relatable for my teenage — heck, and current — self. You need to read this.

  23. 4 out of 5

    elizabeth

    Just finished & crying. Wow. This book is not for everyone...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this title This book reminded me very much of Go Ask Alice . It felt very journalistic but in another way poetic. Each of the 'smaller' sections of the book feels almost like a free verse poem. The story (of which I am unsure if it's biographical or not) follows Juliet through her teenage life dealing with mental illness. Representation wise this novel is done well however I think it may strengthen certain stereotypes about Bi-polar disorder Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this title This book reminded me very much of Go Ask Alice . It felt very journalistic but in another way poetic. Each of the 'smaller' sections of the book feels almost like a free verse poem. The story (of which I am unsure if it's biographical or not) follows Juliet through her teenage life dealing with mental illness. Representation wise this novel is done well however I think it may strengthen certain stereotypes about Bi-polar disorder and would have loved to explanation around the disorder. I do have one major gripe with this novel that brought it down from being a 5-star review to being a 4-star review and that is the major gaps. About 3/4 way through the novel the author gives a description of the protagonist. A description that brought me right out of the world because before that I had an idea of the character in my head and this changed everything. This type of adding in information to try and fill in gaps happens throughout the novel constantly making me say "Oh that would have made way more sense 50 pages ago". Overall I liked this novel it was well written and well paced however there was nothing stand out about from the novels I read dealing with mental health and substance abuse int he past. I would recommend this book to people with the age bracket of 16-22.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cari Cole

    For all of the Sylvia Plaths living in a Rupi Kaur world, this novel feels like it was sewn from our collective journeys. Not quite a memoir or a true bildungsroman, but something so much more – a companion to whisper, "you're not alone."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    Many thanks to the publishers, Melville House, for sending me this book to review, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to read it and revel in it. It is so beautifully written which may sound odd considering the content,but it genuinely is. It takes you inside the mind of fourteen year old Juliet, from the moment that she realises she sees things differently from her contemporaries, to the pupils at the new school she is sent to and then the boarding school which her parents believe will 'cure Many thanks to the publishers, Melville House, for sending me this book to review, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to read it and revel in it. It is so beautifully written which may sound odd considering the content,but it genuinely is. It takes you inside the mind of fourteen year old Juliet, from the moment that she realises she sees things differently from her contemporaries, to the pupils at the new school she is sent to and then the boarding school which her parents believe will 'cure' her. She has deep seated anxieties and addiction to self harm extending to suicidal thoughts and actions. This is just to warn anyone who may find this triggering, it goes to very, very dark places but that is exactly the point Juliet(the narrator) and Juliet (the author) are trying to make-mental illness is not something you can neatly package, throw pills at or 'solve', it is about learning to cope with this new part of you and create strategies that do not leave you fighting yourself at every step. The stream of consciousness from inside Juliet's head made me think that this was autobiographical. The detail which Juliet Escoria uses to describe the effects of medication and drugs is very vivid and raw so I sense there is some overlap between both of them. The years from 14 to 18 are well detailed,before leaping forward to being married and a mother in her 30's. This gives the impression that something has happened, something which has left book Juliet as a functioning member of society. Whether it is a specific therapy regime or medication,or even a third option is left unsaid. You don't know whether this has made a better or worse Juliet, how you live daily with the symptoms of bipolar is incredible, when you see how far she has come since the start to the book to the way she is at the end. It is unflinching and raw in its first person depiction of mental illness and although I was daunted about reading it, I am very glad that I did. There aren't chapters,more pages from diaries or thought experiments which leave you with choppy, 1-2 page thoughts on occasion which reflects the impression that Escoria is trying to make.It creates a very immediate and stressful sense of time and panic as you bounce from page to page and is a very effective technique. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of the blog tour, my thanks to Juliet(both of them) and Melville House for my review copy. 'Juliet The Maniac' is out now in paperback at all good bookshops.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This is a stark, to the point and often very difficult novel to read. Not only is the structure of the story unusual, but the contents are at times horrifying and brutal. Told, in the main, by fourteen-year-old Juliet; the reader is exposed to her innermost thoughts as she battles the mental illness that almost kills her. For it is a disease and it is the disease that kills, regardless of if the actual killing is carried out by ones own hand. As the main character's name is the same as that of the This is a stark, to the point and often very difficult novel to read. Not only is the structure of the story unusual, but the contents are at times horrifying and brutal. Told, in the main, by fourteen-year-old Juliet; the reader is exposed to her innermost thoughts as she battles the mental illness that almost kills her. For it is a disease and it is the disease that kills, regardless of if the actual killing is carried out by ones own hand. As the main character's name is the same as that of the author, it's often easy to imagine that you are reading a true account, rather than a novel, and I'd suggest that this author may have taken experiences from her own life when writing this book. Juliet the Maniac is divided into the four parts of Juliet's life, as she sees them when looking back as an adult. From the inital downward spiral into the black hole of addiction and mental illness, through various forms of treatment and rehabilitation and two failed suicide attempts, the reader is there, alongside Juliet, and in her head, all of the time. Powerful and at times, beautiful. There's a poetic quality to this author's writing, but this does not diminish the brutality of some of her descriptive prose. A story that will linger and haunt the reader. Never easy to read but incredibly moving.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ace Boggess

    Wow. This book isn't to be read so much as experienced. It vividly depicts the world of a bipolar teenager with depth and understanding. The story is ugly and honest, beautiful and sad, uplifting and overwhelming--pick an adjective, I'm sure it fits here. Just a thoroughly compelling read. While the author and narrator share the same name, the book bills itself as a novel, yet lacks the usual disclaimer about "any resemblance to actual persons," so of course you as reader will spend much of your Wow. This book isn't to be read so much as experienced. It vividly depicts the world of a bipolar teenager with depth and understanding. The story is ugly and honest, beautiful and sad, uplifting and overwhelming--pick an adjective, I'm sure it fits here. Just a thoroughly compelling read. While the author and narrator share the same name, the book bills itself as a novel, yet lacks the usual disclaimer about "any resemblance to actual persons," so of course you as reader will spend much of your time wondering what is truth and what fantasia. None of that matters, though. Every word feels real as though it could be you or me or anyone seeing life through these strange, troubled eyes. Dialogue is limited in this book, so at times it reads either like a straight biography or a particularly dense short story. Even so, at no time did I ever want to put the book down. That's not an easy thing to say for any book not in one of the usual pop-fiction categories. It's just that interesting. I can't recommend it enough.

  29. 5 out of 5

    miss.mesmerized mesmerized

    When Juliet finally comes to High School, she has high expectations. Since she is assigned to many honours classes, her talents sure will soon be seen by her teachers. However, instead of concentrating on her educational goals, Juliet is completely preoccupied with what others think of her, why she does not fit in and why she even lost the only friend she had in middle school. She struggles more and more and enters a spiral of drugs and self-harm until she, at last, cries for help and is brought When Juliet finally comes to High School, she has high expectations. Since she is assigned to many honours classes, her talents sure will soon be seen by her teachers. However, instead of concentrating on her educational goals, Juliet is completely preoccupied with what others think of her, why she does not fit in and why she even lost the only friend she had in middle school. She struggles more and more and enters a spiral of drugs and self-harm until she, at last, cries for help and is brought to a hospital. With changing school, she hopes to find back to her old self, but the mental illness she has to recognize as a part of her personality, keeps her at the edge between life and death. I have read several novels about teenagers developing mental illnesses and struggling to come back to something like a normal life. Thus, I was keen on reading Juliet Escoria’s novel which comes with high praise and was highly anticipated. Sadly, the protagonist didn’t really convince me and I hardly could relate with her and her fate. The biggest problem for me was that throughout the novel I had the impression that the medicine to treat bipolar disorder or depression is somehow glorified and paralleled with “ordinary” drugs that are consumed by teenagers, such as alcohol, marihuana or any type of pills. Also the fact that having sex while being completely out of your mind was repeatedly portrayed as something you should go for left me a bit wondering. Since Juliet does not really seem to be willing to overcome her addictions or to find a way of living with her diagnosis and the side effects that come with it, I also did not find the novel helpful in any way. Well, there were some entertaining parts in it, it was even funny at times. And surely it shows that absolutely anybody might end up with mental struggles and that you cannot really do something about it. The tone was adequate for a teenager, even though she often sounded a bit older than just the 14 she was at the beginning.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Miles

    No stars - I gave up on this one halfway through. It just doesn’t work as a novel. Maaaaybe as a memoir... Some autofiction manages to sketch out believable characters while skirting the line of memoir, but this book just doesn’t get that far. A girl’s string of mental breakdowns, hospital stays, drug use and general teenage misbehavior doesn’t frame her up as a novel’s main character well enough for me to stay invested. But do read her husband Scott’s book The Sarah Book, which I liked... which No stars - I gave up on this one halfway through. It just doesn’t work as a novel. Maaaaybe as a memoir... Some autofiction manages to sketch out believable characters while skirting the line of memoir, but this book just doesn’t get that far. A girl’s string of mental breakdowns, hospital stays, drug use and general teenage misbehavior doesn’t frame her up as a novel’s main character well enough for me to stay invested. But do read her husband Scott’s book The Sarah Book, which I liked... which just so happens to be a rare case of autofiction that really works.

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