Title: Optimists Die First
Author: Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin
Recommended for: teens who like books that deal with death, family problems, betrayal, support groups – and a little romance. And fans of The Fault in Our Stars, The Breakfast Club and other books/movies where unlikely strangers wind up becoming friends.
Pages: 228 p.
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Nielsen, S.
Since her sister’s death, Petula de Wilde sees danger in everything. A mandatory art therapy class with a groups of teenage misfits is the worst part of each week. She wants nothing to do with them– especially Jacob and his prosthetic arm. When they work together on a project, he helps her with her fears. But a secret he’s been keeping from her could unravel everything….
I think we’ve all heard the saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I know I have. And that I still sometimes choose a book to read because the cover grabs me. Most often, it is because the cover features delicious looking baked goods. But in this case, I liked the contradiction between the cover and book title. It looks like the front of a homemade knitted sweater… with skeletons and the title Optimists Die First. So I read the front flap and found out that the protagonist was in an art therapy group. Be still my heart! I’m kind of fascinated with the idea of art therapy, although I only know a little about it.
The book didn’t completely grab me, but I still liked it. The art therapy group kind of reminded me of the support group in The Fault in Our Stars. This may be a stretch, but the change in how the group members interacted at the beginning and at he end of the book made me think of The Breakfast Club. Thus, I think the book could be a hit with teens who like problem novels, support groups, The Fault in Our Stars and/or The Breakfast Club.
And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there is a romance….