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This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky

This is How I Find Her

by Sara Polsky

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[This is How I Find Her] by [Sara Polsky] was a different take on dealing with mental illness for YA. Instead of the teen struggling with her own mental illness she is struggling with her mom who suffers from it. [Polsky] does a good job showing the struggles of those who love someone who has a mental illness in all different ways. I will be adding this book to my classroom library. ( )
  MsHooker | Sep 27, 2014 |
This is How I Find Her surprised me in the end. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than I expected. I remember requesting this, forgetting about it, and then not being able to remember WHY I requested it in the first place because it really didn’t sound like my kind of book. And in the end, it wasn’t, but it was still rather decent.

There were parts of This is How I Find Her that I really liked. Sophie’s dealing with her mother was well done, I think. I’ve never been a caretaker for someone with a mental illness, but I have been a caretaker for someone who is sick, and I definitely thought This is How I Find Her portrayed those ups-and-downs well. At sixteen, Sophie doesn’t really get to live a life of her own because she’s spending all her time caring for her mother.

I really loved the relationship between Sophie and her mother. It’s tense, of course, but they really do love each other and it’s easy to see. It was quite difficult at times to see Sophie’s mother portrayed on the page just because I never knew what was coming–a happy memory, or a scary one? And seeing Sophie visiting her mother in the hospital made me ache a little bit for her. I’ve been there, it’s tough.

However, while all that was done pretty well, there were definitely some things I wanted MORE of in This is How I Find Her. It’s quite short, and sort of suffers from a weird syndrome: Having a lagging middle and not enough of an ending all at the same time. The middle of this book is mainly just Sophie thinking over and over again about her life and going to school. There’s no forward motion for too many chapters, and too many flashbacks too early, before I cared about the characters.

There’s some parts of the book that pick up eventually, but by the end, I still wasn’t quite satisfied. Sophie sort of has learned she wants to live her own life, and she takes some steps towards that, but not enough for me to believe that anything will ACTUALLY change for her. Sophie makes friends, but nothing makes me as a reader think it will last. Same with the almost-romance. It just ended too soon, before I could really embrace Sophie at the end of the book.

Final Impression: I think this book suffered a bit because of it’s length. There just wasn’t enough time for me to get REALLY invested in the characters, and I wasn’t sold on the resolution. That being said, I think This is How I Find Her did a few things really well that I appreciated. I liked it, but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Character-drive, quiet, though-provoking, and stylistically simple but never simplistic. Sophie is a great character, whose complex mixture of emotions - loyalty, pride, fear, and the guilty relief she feels when able to lay down some of her burden - ring true. The concept that families are made through choice as well as blood, and the realistic but ultimately hopefully ending will speak to all teens, especially those who are themselves caretakers of their parents or who have other adult-sized responsibilities. ( )
  clio11 | Feb 13, 2014 |
Sophie has single-handedly taken care of her mentally ill mother for the past five years. When she was eleven, her cousin’s family abandoned her and her mother Amy. Suddenly, they were on their own and with Sophie taking care of her bi-polar parent, life became very demanding and taxing. Each day Sophie must make sure her mom takes her meds plus she cooks for the two of them and generally manages the household. It’s a lot of responsibility for a young girl. But when Amy attempts suicide and ends up in the hospital, Sophie must turn to her only remaining family – her aunt’s. Little by little, living with her aunt, uncle and cousin, she sees how she might actually be able to have friends since she isn’t tending to her mother all the time. But as her mother gets her medication stabilized, the possibility of her coming home looms. Sophie is sent into a tailspin at the thought of her life reverting to her central role monitoring her mother. Polsky has perfectly captured a teen caught in a moral dilemma. How much does Sophie need to sacrifice to keep her mother safe? What about her own life? Isn’t she entitled to have friends, to have a social life? The internal struggle is poignant and heartbreaking. Polsky writes with flair and her characters are rich and nicely drawn. While the resolution may seem a tiny bit too convenient, the road to the resolution is not short or easy. Polsky brings mental illness to the forefront, making us all realize how hard an illness it is to manage and live with. She writes of family commitment with a gentle brush and will win over the hearts of readers. ( )
  love_of_books | Jan 16, 2014 |
Full review on Reader's Dialogue: http://readersdialogue.blogspot.com/2013/09/this-is-how-i-find-her.html

I love this book. It made me cry countless times. Much more than a story about living with a family member's bipolar disorder, it's about figuring out when it's ok to give and give and give to someone who really needs help, and when it's time to start taking things for yourself and step back from being the pillar that person leans on. Because it's really heartbreaking that Sophie has had to take charge of someone else's problems when she was as young as 11, and that she was never able to have a normal teenage life because of it. Of course, her aunt should have been there and she made some very bad choices herself, but even her aunt shouldn't have to deal with it, which by the end of the book everyone, including Sophie's mother, realizes. The other characters' interactions strengthen this idea, both Sophie's cousin Leila and their friend James. The most heartwrenching moment, though, is when some kids present an English project that should never have been approved, because regardless of whether anyone in the class has dealt with suicide, making jokes about such serious subjects is disgusting. This book has so many subtle (or not so subtle) "lessons," aside from telling a deeply compelling story about a young girl's journey to find herself and climb out of the debris that has been her life up till then. ( )
  EstherShaindel | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807578770, Hardcover)

Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother's bipolar disorder: monitoring medication, making sure the rent is paid, rushing home after school instead of spending time with friends, and keeping secrets from everyone.

But when a suicide attempt lands Sophie's mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin--a family she's been estranged from for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family's house is easy. What's harder is figuring out how to rebuild her life.

And as her mother's release approaches and the old obligations loom, Sophie finds herself torn between her responsibilities toward her mother and her desire to live her own life, Sophie must decide what to do next.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:58 -0400)

"High school junior Sophie has always had the burden of taking care of her mother, who has bipolar disorder, but after her mother's hospitalization she must learn to cope with estranged family and figure out her own life"--

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