“Studies show that in general, optimists die ten years earlier than pessimists”
Title: Optimists Die First
Author: Susin Nielsen
Publication: February 21st 2017 by Wendy Lamb Books
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:
- 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.
- 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.)