Confession alert. It wasn't until I uploaded the cover work that I realised that there is a panther AND a boy on it! This book is something entirely different, and I needed it, I can't even begin to explain how much.
It follows teenage Derrick, whose life has been ripped out from under him due to his sister's depression. He is now overweight, friendless and doesn't have a hope in hell with Hadley, the girl of his dreams.
This book is quite light, in a very dark way. I have no doubt that oblivious people could read this book without even realising just how incredibly awful what Derrick is facing is, just as people don't realise what others are dealing with every single day back here in reality.
The tag on the front reads "Can you control a beast you can't see?" and it sums it up pretty darn freaking well. Because not only does he have his own demons to fight, but also his sister's and the rest of his family's too.
Mental Health themed books are quite common now in YA contemporary, but this is the first I have ever seen that focuses on how mental health affects the loved ones of those suffering. That is pretty shoddy I reckon, because the victim is not the only victim; their loved ones suffer just as much, particularly knowing that there is nothing that they can do to help, and that it will never get better. It is a crippling force in ones life, and often an unbearable weight to carry. The stress and anxiety is something that is with you always, and life seems to always be at a standstill for fear of being there, and worse, not being there. Something Derrick's character knows all too well about. Panther did an incredible job of highlighting all of the pain and heartbreak involved in loving someone who is lost, and I will be forever grateful for the acknowledgement that while mental illness is not contagious, it has an almighty ripple effect that can swallow you whole.
Oh, and also, there is a panther running around in London...
Genre: YA Contemporary
Acquired from: Corsair Publishing
Thoughts and things I loved (as told from my little brown book)
• "Maybe YOU'RE the live bait" -pg 40
• The whole eating to be in control. To actually be in control. To feel in control of at least something.
• "kissed his lips" -pg 184
• The characters aren't decideably good or bad. They are a mix of nobleness and shitiness all rolled into one body of confusion.
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own*