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When Jade Eby Isn't Writing...

I write. A lot. But when I'm not writing...you can find me with my nose in a book. Or a Kindle.

Without Tess - Marcella Pixley Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

The blurb of this book sounded so interesting and different from what I've read that I was excited to give it a try. It did not disappoint! This was an extremely insightful look at childhood mental illness and it was sad yet hopeful all at once.

The Good: What I loved about this book was the subtle way Pixley alerted the reader that things were not right in Tess Cohen's head. What started out as a cute and harmless game for children turned into a disturbing look at how mental illnesses ravage families and their victim. I really felt bad for Lizzie. Her "secret" is one that I think many people would carry with them if they were in the same situation as Lizzie and that made me feel sad for her. The closeness between the sisters makes the story that much more harrowing. Pixley created the world's most adorable mentally unstable characters I've met. Tess is so undeniably vivid and full of life but she is disturbingly sick. It's so evident and you want to pull your hair out because you know just how sick she is and you want her to get better. I felt like I WAS Lizzie for a while. The poetry weaved into the chapters was such a brilliant way to show us more of Tess's character. It foreshadowed enough without giving anything away and was perfect lyrical poetry. For once, I loved an ending that had a certain amount of closure and certainty. I'm usually a fan of ambiguous endings, but in this novel, I actually loved the ending.

The Bad: Even though I really enjoyed this novel, it was one of those that I know in a week, month or year I will have forgotten it. There wasn't enough "Umph" to make it amazing. It was simply an emotional, well written story. The one thing I really disliked was that I wanted to know more about Tess's mental illness. We never get to know what type it is, or how it affects her. We just know she has this mental illness. I would have liked to know exactly what type of odds she was against.

Overall, this was a really great look at childhood mental illness and a sad but beautiful story of a sister coming to terms with her sister's death. I would give this book a B-!

**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.