Title – Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
Author – Holly Bourne
Series/Standalone – Standalone
Book No – N/A
Genre – YA Contemporary
Date of Publication – 9th August 2018
Number of Pages – 397
Everyone wants to feel “normal.” Everyone wants to feel as if they have their life under control, or if not, learn how to regain that control. For Olive, Camp Reset is the place where she can hopefully do just that, and maybe learn a little bit more about herself and the world in the process. However, what will it take to help her realise that the changes she wants to make have to work both ways?
TW – this book features characters with suicidal thoughts, and discussions of self-harm and childhood sexual abuse.
I’m a self-confessed reader of anything that doesn’t really include YA Contemporary, however, every once in a while, a book will scream “READ ME” and I am putty in its hands.
I say every once in a while, but it is the fifth time this year! I’ve loved nearly every single YA Contemporary I’ve read. What is this magic?
I think it is the combination of strong friendships, realistic protagonists, and awareness of subjects and messages prevalent in today’s society.
Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? combines all of those to produce one of the most important books I’ve ever read. Seriously, all the credit goes to Holly Bourne for recognising the need to address such an issue as Teenage Mental Health, and capturing it realistically. I think she did that wonderfully through Olive. I loved Olive’s unpredictability, her often lack of judgement, her desire to make the world a better place and her rollercoaster of emotions because it made her relatable and realistic. Sometimes she did drive me a little crazy but on reflection, I couldn’t judge her for that because it was part of her character and her mental illness which could not be helped. She also resonated with me because she was so determined to be kind and help other people that she dismissed herself and her needs. Mental Health aside, this is me. I want to do so much for the people around me that they become more important, and if I think about me for even a minute, I believe it to be selfish.
However, this book has it. The messages I’ve needed for the last couple of years and sometimes brushed aside:
“Selfish isn’t always a bad thing. It gets a bad rep. Being selfish can sometimes be the most selfless act there is. It gives you the strength to really help. Sometimes you need to put you first and get fit and strong so you can go out and save the world when you’re in the best shape to.”
“You don’t have to stop looking after yourself just to help the world. In fact, sometimes it’s better for the world if you put yourself first. That’s not being selfish, in fact looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love.”
Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? is a book about teenagers and their wellbeing but you can easily replace the teenagers with adults and the messages remain the same. As adults we rush about working, studying, doing God knows what and we forget about looking after our mental wellbeing. We are not machines. If there is anything 21st Century life has taught me, it is that we need to slow down and look after ourselves in order to take care of the world. When a book ends on a not so happy-ever-after, you know how much all of it rings true, and combined with everything else, that’s what makes this book arguably the best YA Contemporary I’ve read all year.
Holly Bourne truly hit the nail on the head and I hope the book can touch others as much as it did for me.
Have you read this book yet? If so, what are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!