Recently, Kelsey Macke contacted me and asked if I’d help her promote the 3rd anniversary of her book, Damsel Distressed. I loved the book, so I jumped right onboard and agreed! But I didn’t want to just post a spotlight that most people would completely overlook (I probably would, if I’m being honest). So, I thought back to the book and wondered why it sticks out in my mind so much. After all, I read it over two years ago. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering a book two months later, much less two years.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason I loved this book so much was because of how honest it was when it came to the issue of depression. I might not remember every detail of the plot, but I remember how Imogen struggled with deep feelings of depression, even though she had people around her who loved her and wanted to help. She wasn’t instantly cured by the love of well-meaning friends and family (or a boy). Her issues were much more complicated than that, and they couldn’t be wished away or explained away.
I remember that the book tore me apart emotionally. And sometimes I felt downright frustrated with Imogen, but that was part of the point—it didn’t matter if Imogen knew she was being unreasonable, she still couldn’t magically change. Sometimes I think we need more books like this.
I love that we’re seeing mental health issues addressed more and more. I love that there are books like Damsel Distressed that (in my opinion) do it exactly right.
Let’s face it, we want to see people get better in our stories. (And in life… reminds me of a quote from another, more recent read, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares: “People got tired of mental illness when they found out they couldn’t fix it”) But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t see the struggle while they’re on their way (and we should have a sense that the journey isn’t completely over even at the end of the book).
And now… make sure you check out Kelsey Macke’s book, which is three years old tomorrow (the 14th). You can find my original review HERE.Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on October 14th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Hot girls get the fairy tales. No one cares about the stepsisters’ story. Those girls don’t get a sweet little ending; they get a lifetime of longing.
Imogen Keegen has never had a happily ever after–in fact, she doesn’t think they are possible. Ever since her mother’s death seven years ago, Imogen has pulled herself in and out of therapy, struggled with an “emotionally disturbed” special ed. label, and loathed her perma-plus-sized status.
When Imogen’s new stepsister, the evil and gorgeous Ella Cinder, moves in down the hall, Imogen begins losing grip on the pieces she’s been trying to hold together. The only things that gave her solace–the theatre, cheese fries, and her best friend, Grant–aren’t enough to save her from her pain this time.
While Imogen is enjoying her moment in the spotlight after the high school musical, the journal pages containing her darkest thoughts get put on display. Now, Imogen must resign herself to be crushed under the ever-increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.
And maybe even find herself a happily ever after.
By the way, if you haven’t yet, check out the Shattering Stigmas Event, which is going on right now and brings attention to mental health in YA.
This post is being linked up to the 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge.