Monday, May 1, 2017

Review: ALL THINGS NEW by Lauren Miller

Rating: 5/5 stars

All Things New begins in the middle of one of Jessa's panic attacks: chaos abounds through short sentences and fragmented thoughts. I was overwhelmed and confused, but this is exactly how an anxiety attack feels. Lauren Miller wasted no time getting to the point with her strong opening scene.

Jessa is a relatable high school girl, especially to someone like me who also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. Her internal thoughts have often been my exact thoughts before. I understand why she gets anxiety about certain situations, even when it may seem illogical and irrational to others. I've been in her shoes.

After she gets into a car accident that leaves her scarred in more ways than one, Jessa begins seeing scars, burns, bruises, and cuts on others' faces. After realizing she is the only person who can see these marks, Jessa begins to wonder if there's a purpose behind their existence and if she's getting better or worse in the months post-accident.

This novel does a really good job at communicating the idea that everyone experiences pain, whether physical or emotional or mental, and that everyone has a "dragon" to fight. Just because one cannot see the hurt does not mean that it doesn't exist. Most pain we bury away anyway, putting on a facade of being happy and okay, but what if others could see what we are actually struggling with on the inside?

All Things New's diversity in mental health conditions brings awareness to the many diseases that exist. This book features characters with an array of afflictions: autism, Aspergers, panic attacks, OCD, anxiety, addiction, and anorexia, among others. Although some conditions may have been portrayed stereotypically at times, none of it was in a negative light.

This is a beautiful story of acceptance, both of yourself and of others, and the differences and trials that make us human. It is witty and heartfelt, emotional and encouraging. But most of all it is about the hope of overcoming your "dragons" and how that can revive your soul.

I've been letting fear win. . . . Generalized anxiety disorder is no small dragon. But I'm the one who gave that dragon the throne. Not because I didn't know how to fight it, even though that's what I would've said. But because I was afraid of what fighting it would cost me.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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