I used to hear a lot about Lang Leav whenever I logged onto Tumblr. There would always be a quote from one of her poems, or someone gushing about how amazing her writing was. I prefer novels over poetry, so when I heard that she had written a book, I was pretty excited to check it out and see if her writing really did live up to the hype.
School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad – the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?
Ok, so the synopsis doesn’t give much away which is brilliant because this is definitely a book that you need to go into without not knowing anything, so I’ll try and keep even minor spoilers out of this review, but it’s going to be hard! I’m just going to start off and say that I hated Audrey, Candela, Audrey’s Mom and Rad (sometimes). There were probably more but I just can’t remember. Audrey is this spoilt, whiny teenage girl who just expects life to happen for her. She expects everything to go her way, and that she doesn’t have to work for it. She’s rude, selfish, self-centered, abusive, and a cheat. Wow. Ok, so that all sounds really harsh when I’ve typed it all out, but it’s true. I don’t even know if Leav meant for Audrey to be like – or come across – like that… If she didn’t, then I guess Audrey was badly written. I have a sense that she wasn’t though, I think that we were meant to root for her throughout the book, but all I could think about is how unaware she is of the pain that she’s caused. I know she has the panic attacks when anything reminds her of what she did, and I know how horrible panic attacks can be (believe me, I’ve been there), but panic attacks seemed to be some sort of ‘thing’ that was used to gain pity and I didn’t like that. I didn’t want Audrey’s panic attacks to make people feel sorry for her. I wanted them to make her stronger, to face her demons and tell the truth to get rid of her guilt. But she didn’t. She ran away.
“I was struck with the cruel affliction of anxiety. It came in the form of a panic attack, seemingly out of nowhere – a bolt from the blue. Like a thunderclap in my chest, an icy river down the length of my spine. Terror and confusion clawed at the edges of my brain as I clutched fistfuls of the sweat-soaked bedsheets I had slept fitfully in, just moments before.”
– Lang Leav, Sad Girls
And that’s just Audrey. Don’t even get me started on her bloody Mom. God… SHE WAS JUST AWFUL! Towards the end, she got slightly better, but I just wanted to slap her. And then there was Candela. She was also self-centred and I felt like she was just a character that was there to create a bit of drama every now and then. She didn’t add anything to the plot at all. Same with Lucy – but I really did love her. She was one of the characters that I really liked. She worked her ass off to try and keep everyone grounded, and she always tried to get people to see the bigger picture. I just wish that there was more of her in the novel because she was the only character that I didn’t want to repeatedly punch.
I guess I’ve put you off reading this book, eh? Don’t worry, it’s not all bad. I think it was just the characters that really got to me. The plot itself was amazing. It was fast-paced, shocking, but also really relatable. I liked how the characters took time for themselves to do what they wanted to do in life add they didn’t let things stop them from fulfilling their dreams. Sometimes, they came off as much older than 19/20 because they had full-time jobs and houses and here I am, at 21, still living with my parents and working at a retail store 8 hours a week. I was just sat there like “surely they should be something like 25 if they’re doing all of this?” I was completely baffled by the whole age thing but oh well. I guess some people actually do all of those things earlier than other people.
“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to – it’s the first one who breaks it.”
– Lang Leav, Sad Girls
The ending as well?!! Oh my life, I think I nearly choked on my cup of tea. I did not see that coming. AT ALL! But it made me so angry. How can the author romanticise suicide, self harm and murder? I really don’t get it. Sure the ending was shocking in the (oh my life, REALLY!) way but it was also shocking because I can’t believe Leav would do that. It’s just so problematic. I will never be able to understand why Audrey chose to do what she did though in the epilogue, and you will understand what I mean if you read the book.
So. we have horrible characters who just kept on making really bad decisions, we have one awesome best friend who doesn’t deserve horrible friends like Audrey and Candela, but then we also have this amazing plot-driven novel that keeps you on your toes and also keeps you guessing the entire time and then a god-awful ending that romanticises suicide and self harm. Hmmmmm. My advice?
Know what you’re getting yourself into when you start this book. Research, read loads of reviews. Because there are so many triggers in here and I want all readers to feel safe.
“If you know what it’s like to want someone so much you would kill for them. If you know what it’s like to feel someone so deep under your skin you would sacrifice everything to protect them, even if it screws up your own moral compass so you can’t see right from wrong. If you’re like me, then let me leave you with this: That’s what love is. Don’t let them tell you any different.”
– Lang Leav, Sad Girls
Overall, this book is 2 stars purely because of the story line. If it wasn’t for that, I think I would have DNF’d it. But I really do recommend that you read this. If you try and look past the handful of awful characters, this book is just pure entertainment that will have you glued to your seat.
Warning: this book contains trigger warnings for depression, anxiety, self-harm, drug abuse and death.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Released 30th May