Book Review – A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
Young Adult/Teen Fiction
Excitable Rating 6/10

I was very excited to see Lindstrom had a second title coming out, as I read his first book Not If I See You First and absolutely loved it (go, go and read it now).  First of all, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Not If I See You First, it was however still very good just not as good.  In his first novel Lindstrom’s protagonist is a blind teen, in A Tragic Kind of Wonderful he moves from physical disability towards mental disorders.  The main character Mel is bipolar though no one outside of her family is aware of this, a secret that it is instantly clear to the reader is very taxing emotionally and physically on Mel.  Using Mel as the narrator of the novel allows for an unreliable narrator, something which Lindstrom is used to doing – Parker in Not If I See You First is limited by her visual impairment and therefore like her we never get the full picture of what is happening to and around her.

Mel it becomes clear is only really just starting to cope again after losing her close friendships in the previous school year, which caused her to have a manic episode – though again no one is aware of the true story – she has also never fully faced what happened to her brother Nolan.  Nolan’s story is only revealed towards the conclusion of the novel, we know only that he too is “like Mel”.

I think Lindstrom deals excellently with the reluctance of people who suffer from mental illnesses to voice their conditions for fear of being regarded differently by those closest to them, Mel’s complete terror at the idea of this is so powerful through his writing.  I really connected to it.

Exciting Features:

  • Bisexuality/Lesbians! YAY!
  • Completely platonic friendship between a boy and a girl, and between a gay girl and a straight girl. YAY!
  • Pretty good explanations of how all mental illnesses affect people differently, they are not the same across the board for all who have them
  • Angst, lots and lots of angst


This was an engrossing read for me, I sat down in the morning to read a little and didn’t get back up until I had finished it in the evening.  I would recommend this to anyone who is fan of classic YA fiction.

Thanks for reading
~ The Excitable Feminist


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