I was kindly sent a free paperback copy of this book by the author Alex Dunn. Crazy for Alice is a very interesting and unique YA novel covering some tough themes, here is my review.
After being admitted to a mental asylum for trying to commit suicide, Ben falls into a deep depression and enters a strange grey world where nothing is what it seems. While there he meets a girl called Alice and they spend time together and grow close. But how long can they exist in this world and what will happen if they leave?
This is a really good and very different story. Told in the third person it follows sixteen year old Ben as he enters the Gray World and meets Alice. From the book’s description I thought that there would be a lot of this part of the story but in fact his time in the Gray World all happens at the start of the book and the majority of the story focuses on what happens after he returns to our world.
I wasn’t sure at first if I’d get into the story. The experience Ben has in the Gray World all happens so fast that I didn’t feel connected to the characters and I would have liked to read more about his time in the Gray World and his relationship with Alice. Despite the over-speedy start, this book did get far more interesting and I did start to enjoy it. Nobody believes Ben’s spent time in a Gray World and the story gets far more interesting the further this disbelief goes.
The book is very different from any YA fiction I’ve read before. It covers the tough topic of depression and mental health and the story of the Gray World and what happens in it is very well imagined and unique. I really enjoyed how this topic was covered and it was done well. But despite all the good I still found it difficult to really get into this story as much as I would have liked. It was an exciting and fast-paced read but I never connected with Ben’s character as much as I hoped I would.
The book has some swearing, both the f and s swear words are used though not often. The book also covers some tough topics such as depression, suicide and a little violence so I wouldn’t recommend this to the youngest of teens.
Despite my criticisms, this was still a very enjoyable and interesting read. The story was exciting and unpredictable right to the end and it had a great and satisfying ending. A good book I’d read again.
Author’s website: http://www.alexdunnauthor.com/
Donnie Darko meets Pleasantville in this dark urban fantasy about sixteen-year-old Ben Howard. When Ben accidentally kills his father and is sectioned after a failed suicide attempt, he escapes the guilt by seeking solace deep within the recesses of his own mind.
Waking in a strange ethereal black and white world, where most people exist as living statues, Ben leaps from New York skyscrapers into African jungles without fear of injury, severed from his emotions, until he meets and falls in love with Alice. But, no sooner does he settle into this strange, new existence, he’s traumatically catapulted back to the brutal reality he left behind.
Nobody believes he’s spent the last six months in a Gray World. Not his neurotic mother, his policeman brother Gavin, or his friends Mitch and Wendy, and certainly not Dr. McKenzie who’s threatening to give him even more pills. They all think he’s crazy, and why wouldn’t they when he’s been in some strange coma locked up in a mental asylum?