Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
Jenny & Gitte: 5+++ heartbreakingly beautiful stars
Jenny: Well G, every now and then we read a book that touches our soul, has such a profound effect on us that the mere thought of writing a review feels somewhat daunting. I know you’re feeling the same way as me here. How do you I effectively put into words the feelings I’m experiencing after reading Suicide Watch? How do I adequately communicate to others the level of my emotions – how do I convey the sadness, beauty and hope of a story that will stay with me forever? I think it will be a while before I can do justice to a story that has touched me so deeply, but I will attempt to express myself here and only hope…hope with everything in me that EVERY READER out there picks up this beautifully told, sad, heartbreaking, yet uplifting story because I want every reader to be afforded the reading experience we just had. We won’t stop thinking about this book for a while will we G?
Gitte: No we certainly won’t Jenny. I can’t stop thinking about this book and haven’t been able to pick another one up since I turned the last page yesterday. And to think we’ve had this book on our kindles since April. I am gutted that this beautiful flawlessly written emotional story has been sitting ignored on our kindles because this is a story that NEEDS to be read. Yes it left me distraught and crying for hours but it was also absolutely inspirational and heart-warming. What an overwhelmingly touching journey this Author took us on!
“Have a life with me. Fight with me. Fix things with me….It won’t be easy. It will hurt and it will ache….” – Vince
Jenny: We sure were gutted to realise we’d had it that long that’s for sure. We meet Vincent, a young man who has never been fortunate enough to receive the basics in life a lot of us take for granted. He’s never known the love of a family and had been shifted from one foster home to the next. His life finally appeared to have some form of stability and normality when he is fostered by a woman named Maggie. Unfortunately for Vincent, this arrangement also becomes temporary and he is once again on his own when Maggie suffers a heart attack and passes away.
‘If she’s in a better place, why are the rest of us trying so hard to stay where we are?’ – Vincent
Vincent stumbles across a pro-suicide forum called Suicide Watch and starts chatting to a couple of people online. Suffering lack of self-esteem and a helplessness and despair no boy of 18 should be feeling, Vincent befriends Casper, a girl dealing with a debilitating form of cancer…
“Because unlike you two,”…………”I. Am. Unfixable.” – Casper
And Adam, a young man who feels desolate and lost, and is of the opinion that if he were to commit suicide, his loss wouldn’t be felt by anyone around him.
“You’re really, really wrong, Adam. I would miss you.”
These three damaged individuals finally meet in person, against Vincent’s wishes, and a relationship is formed between the three that will captivate you, break you, lift you and move you to your core.
‘I’m doing something utterly terrifying this weekend. I’m hanging out with someone and what if this someone realises I’m not worth hanging out with?’ – Nowhere Man
‘Don’t worry so much. You are.’ – RoxWell
Gitte, how beautifully moving and touching was the development of these relationships and witnessing three damaged souls bring so much to one another – neither asking for anything in return. The developing love between Adam and Vincent could be felt on every page. It melted me. Two young men who really do deserve the very best life and each other has to offer.
Gitte: The story of Vincent, Adam and Casper was so powerful I literally felt my heart breaking into tiny pieces, their suffering so real and their individual stories packed so full of hurt and pain from forces outside their control. To see each character suffer, their souls damaged by neglect, rejection and illness just brought me to absolute tears, it’s been a long while since a YA had such a profound effect on me! The subject is extremely sensitive and it raises many questions on teen suicide and the contributing factors, as well as the help available for survivors of attempted suicide. It also sparks the debate on suicide being the ultimate attempt by the potential victim of ‘life’ to gain attention, calling out for help in a last attempt when all other options have been exhausted.
“I find it hard to think of a point to any of this. I think if there were one person who cared, just one, I could find a reason to give a damn.” – Vince
Bless Vince, he was a gorgeous young man who’d not only suffered abandonment by the people who should love him the most. He also suffered the loss of the only person who truly cared for him, who tied him to his life and connected him to his place in the world. Statistically one of the higher percentages of teens who attempt suicide do so after losing a loved one. Vince felt lost, alone and unsure of who he was and who he was meant to be. Vince lived and breathed the idea that his life was worthless and meaningless. So for him, to suddenly have Adam and Caspar in his life, two equally suffering souls. Well, he could see outside the bleakness of his own and life became so much more when faced with the reality of losing two people he came to care about and who cared for him in return.
“I find the lonely ones, like me. The people who haven’t lost anything, because they never had it to begin with.” – Vince
With the tone of the story being quite heart-breaking, the character of Caspar was like a breath of fresh air, optimism, inspiration and hope. This, despite Caspar having very little time left due to illness. Her voice was so strong and her all-embracing effect on Vince and Adam was nothing short of astounding in the life of depression and anxiety. And darling Adam, he thought he was invisible, he too felt lost though he knew who he was and what he wanted. His voice towards the end, the culmination of many factors absolutely broke me.
These three characters took a piece of my heart when I turned that last page. Writing this review is making me cry all over again, their voices having stayed with me, their journey so intense, so heart-breaking yet inspiring too.
“I am fine. I’m dandy. I’m just great. Say it enough and I might start to believe it.” – Vince
Suicide Watch is one of those books everyone should read and I urge you to do so. The beauty is flawless in its ugliness but this is life, real life. Suicide happens, this is not drama for the sake of drama. Rather, this is the last act of an individual who sees no other way out. Not receiving the support or recognition he/she needs to shed the overwhelming weight and despair taking up all of the space in their very being. Adam and Vincent were truly beautiful characters and if I could have, I would’ve grabbed them out my kindle and never let them go a day without me telling them how much I loved them and how truly inspirational they both were. Just like I tell my own two sons every single day. I think it’s important to reiterate that whilst the subjects in this story are hard to read at times it’s actually a very hopeful and inspirational story with heart-warming and important messages. Don’t you agree Jenny?
“In that moment, I should’ve said a lot of things. I should’ve asked her why she wanted to die, if living really was that bad, If I could do anything to change her mind…” – Vince
Jenny: Absolutely agree Gitte. The hope in this story is what keeps you turning the page. The absolutely reality is what keeps you gripped to every moment spent in this story. I cannot explain the sheer enormity of the emotions I felt during, and at the end Suicide Watch. I cried – no, scratch that…I sobbed my heart out through this book.
‘We are all broken. Every one of us ‘– Vincent
As a mother, your overpowering instinct is to love and protect your child. The thought of Adam and Vincent being denied that basic human right broke me. It killed me seeing the pain and loneliness of these two beautiful souls. Throughout this book I felt the need to hug my son. By the end of this book I hugged him as if my life depended on it. Teen suicide is a reality. It’s a distressing and heartwrenching reality but it is handled with such care and feeling in Suicide Watch.The thought of anyone, let alone teenagers, feeling so lost, so alone, so lonely, or experiencing such despair kills me.
‘He has a beautiful voice. Soft and pained and I want to reach out and gather him up. Gather both of them up and promise everything will be okay. I want to protect them. To love them and go far, far away where none of this exists……’
In the author notes she hopes this story will have us “thinking for a bit”. Well I can assure Kelley Yorke that her story has she left me thinking and taking away a LOT from Suicide Watch! I will never forget Vincent, Adam and Casper – they have left a mark on my heart – I ache for them and I love them.
‘Good thing happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. I don’t consider myself one or the other, so I can’t help but wonder if that’s why I’m like this.’ – Vincent
Words cannot express how much this story meant to me. Love your children. Cherish them. Listen to them and please…… as a favour to us both add this book to your reading list. Powerful, moving, thought provoking and flawlessly told, this is a book that will make you feel hope when you are feeling hopelessness. Suicide Watch is a book that demands to be read.