In the words of Augustus Waters, "It is an honor to have my heart broken by you" (or something like that.) This is how I feel about The History of Jane Doe.
First and foremost, I need to preface this review by saying two things:
1. This is a story about a girl who commits suicide and leaves her boyfriend, his best friend, and her family behind. The book is the boyfriend (Ray's) way of dealing by creating a history of his memories of her-Jane. You will get all the feels. If that is something you want, read this NOW, if not-steer clear.
2. I stopped loving John Green after Paper Towns failed me, but I will forever love Augustus Waters and Looking for Alaska.
The History of Jane Doe is a heartbreakingly beautiful story of grief, friendship, and first love. If you like John Green, this is a very Green-esque, in a small town with a boy who loves history. Ray is a regular kid, not popular and kind of weird, with a best friend, Simon, who wants to be a vampire. (Who I honestly loved because he is so preciously naive.) Ray recounts his story of Jane from the first time he saw her to a year after she died. The story goes back and forth between a countdown of days BEFORE and days after. Most of the days after being scenes of Ray with his therapist, Rich, and Ray not being able to leave his room and having to deal with his anger from losing Jane. Ray recounts how he slowly fell for Jane, while she learned how to live in a small town after growing up in Brooklyn.
I think my favorite part of the book is when Ray is with his therapist and Rich tells Ray, "'It's not about the people in their lives. Their boyfriends. Parents. Friends. It's something inside. And that's hard for people to get, because it doesn't necessarily relate to anything going on in their lives-it's just there. And someimes, when people don't get the help they need, it grows too strong'" (Belanger, 375).
I love how easy this book was to love. The small town that ray knows all of the history about gives the story a funny setting where you definitely learn that while something major is going on in one person's head, the world is still spinning and how upsetting that can be. I also love how Ray also has to deal with the after of everything and we get to be a witness to his growth and healing process. It is such an important time to learn more about mental health and I think that this book is a great place to start.
I really enjoyed Archival Quality and its emphasis on mental health. The main character, Cel, has left her job as a librarian after a breakdown and has taken a job as an archivist in a creepy old museum. She begins having weird dreams and losing chunks of time where she has no idea what happened. Her dreams feature a young woman whom Cel believes was an inmate in the asylum that the museum used to be and sets her sights on finding a way to set the spirit's soul to rest.
Cel not only has to solve the mystery of the museum's past, but she also must prove that her own mental health is not declining again and in the end, learns how to ask for help.
Overall, a fun and enjoyable book that displays great teamwork (even with people you may not WANT to work with) and the importance of mental health and knowing when to ask for help.