Optimists Die First

“Studies show that in general, optimists die ten years earlier than pessimists”

Title: Optimists Die First

Author: Susin Nielsen

Series: Standalone

Publication:  February 21st 2017 by Wendy Lamb Books

Pages: 224

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Beware: Life ahead.

Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk.


A Listical of Thoughts:

The Good

  • Crazy cat lady = instant love from this other crazy cat lady who read about said crazy cat lady. Meow.
  • NAMING CATS AFTER BOOK CHARACTERS.

  • Cute romance. No instalove, but not super slow, either. Nice balance. I ship it.
  • No useless teen drama just to create tension.
  • Lovably outlandish characters, which surprisingly worked for the story rather than against it.
  • Scrapbooking
  • Vigilant pessimist for a main character… interesting portrayal, reasoning, etc.
  • Growth in all of the characters despite the shortness of the book itself. Hard to do, and nicely done.
  • Cat videos.
  • Arts and crafts! YAY!
  • Cats…cats….cats. Winner winner chicken dinner.

The Not So Good

  • Portrayal of anxiety was played off as a character quirk. Ultimately hurtful to those reading it. Anxiety isn’t funny, nor is it fun or anything funky or interesting or a plot device. It is serious – and mental illness and stories about characters living with mental illness should do them justice and treat the issues with respect and care. Not like this, never like this.
  • Main character magically cured of anxiety by meeting a cute boy. What the hell.
  • Anxiety is not cute.
  • Mental illness turns into pretty sugar, spice, and everything nice plus rainbows.
  • Plot moves too quickly and feels rushed = the story feels even more unrealistic
  • (There was an obvious theme to my dislikes. The problematic representation in this book should not be ignored.)


Goodreads

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