Sometimes you have to get lost in order to be found…
Cutting breaks through my numbness, but only opens more wounds.
Depression, self-harm, bullying….that’s my reality.
Sex and guys….that’s my escape.
The space between the truth and lies is blurred leaving me torn, lost and confused. And while the monsters that live in my head try to beat me– the two men that I love try to save me.
This is my story of friendship, heartache, and the grueling journey that is mental-illness.
Warning: Due to possible triggering subject matter and some sexual situations this book is not recommended for anyone under the age of 17 years old.
Urgh. Right now, at the time of starting this review, I have no idea how to rate this book. It’s one of those where you want to give half of it 5 huge stars and the other half you’re absolutely furious with!
I’m going to go with 3.5. Because I couldn’t put it down, but there were issues that made me so damn mad and prevented me from giving it any higher! I’m gutted, but I was just so angry.
3.5 STARS FOR JESS, JACE & KINGSLEY!
I’m no one. I barely exist.
Therapy is Jessica Alexander’s story. Jess is a poorly girl. She struggles with every day life, she is bullied at school, she cuts to relieve her stress, she is premiscuous and uses sex to make men want her, she needs men to want her and like her, she craves love and attention, she’s needy and clingy… Her head is a mess.
“Needing someone to love me and want me has always driven me to the brink of madness.”
I don’t want to give too much away with this review, as you don’t get many details in the blurb, so basically, this book begins by following Jess through her final year in high school and her unlikely friendship with gorgeous, popular, star quarter-back, Jace Collins.
When circumstances force Jace and Jess apart, we flick forward to a point in Jess’s life where she is forced to face the reality of her mental health and attend therapy sessions.
“I’m so very tired of being held prisoner by my own mind.”
Enter Kingsley Arrington. And, coincidently, re-enter Jace! As Jess’s life is thrown into full-blown drama status, as if she didn’t already have enough going on, Jess battles with her love for both men. Both men represent different qualities and needs in her life and both men love her back.
Ok, I’m not going to tell you anymore, because I don’t want to ruin this story. It was absolutely nothing like I’d expected and I think the reading experience was all the more intense for that. So I’m not going to give you any more.
However, I will tell you a little more about the characters, the feel of the book, the writing, etc. And there really are so many dimensions to this book.
Shitballs. This was a heavy read. In the back of the book, I read that author, Kathryn Perez, has written this book from her own experiences with mental health, self harm and therapy. Wow, if that didn’t make it all the more emotive! This isn’t some fluffy representation of mental illness. This is the real deal. And it’s hard hitting.
I hate myself most of all because no matter how strong I try to be, I know the truth. I’m weak. I’m fucking dirty. I’m used up. And no man will ever love me, because I hate me.
Jessica is such a complex and honest character. Many of our heroines are almost prudish in their hesitancy to have sex or be in a relationship. And even when we come across a heroine who sleeps around some, it’s often all in the name of independence and doing what she wants to do. Jess is different. She completely admits to sleeping with men because it’s what they want, because it’s what you have to do to make boys like you.
Guys want it, and if you don’t give it to them, they don’t want you. I want him to want me, so sex is necessary. I just want to be loved.
Jess is bullied at school by Jenson High School’s very own mean girls! At school she is timid, silent and tries her best to be invisible. Yet there is this fire in her, this bravery and this defensiveness that gives her a sharp tongue.
The bullying is excruciating to read. It’s graphic and uncompromising and it doesextend to physical violence, so there might be some of you out there who won’t deal well with that.
Their weapons aren’t illegal, yet they cut me deeper than a blade ever could.
Jessica’s friendship with Jace is perfect. I loved watching them grow closer and I loved his caring, protective side. I loved that he was confident enough that he didn’t care what the others thought of him.
“You’re worth more than you think. You just have to believe that; then everyone else will too.”
I loved high-school Jace and since I’d read a couple of reviews telling me this was going to have two lead males, by 50% when we’d still not met Kingsley, I was convinced that I was going to be totally Team Jace and that nobody was going to change my mind.
“Jessica, falling in love can’t always be a happily ever after or a once in a lifetime kind of story.”
However, I wasn’t! I have to say, I was Team Kingsley. Again, I really can’t tell you too much, but I loved Kingsley!!! He is pure and strong and sure of his feelings. I just adored everything about him, from his shirtless guitar playing, to his Harley, to his caramel banana waffle cooking skills! Kingsley, to me, represented the perfectionthat Jess had always been searching for in life. The unconditional love, the friendship despite her flaws, her mistakes, her mood swings and her vulnerability.
“You deserve a man who falls in love with your mind, wants to undress your very conscience, and make love to your every single thought. You deserve a man who wants to see you slowly let down every wall you’ve ever built up. You deserve a man that will work hard for you until you let him inside your heart.”
And as for adult Jace… well, when compared to Kingsley I kind of felt that he just continually fell short. I felt like he wasn’t as patient with Jess as he could have been, especially as he had a real understanding for her mental health and her personality disorder. He stressed her out, he made things worse and more confusing, he wasn’t cautious and patient. He wasn’t strong enough to fight for her and stand up for his love for her. He was reckless and passed judgement. He really disappointed me.
“I belong to you, Jess. My heart has belonged to you since I scooped you up off the ground over six years ago. That has never changed.”
But there were times when I couldn’t help but pine for the love that Jess and Jace had shared as teenagers. And, it was clear, to me, that Jace had his own deep seated issues and needed help dealing with those. Jace is a people pleaser and a fixer, he takes it upon himself to keep everyone around him happy and to make sure everything is fixed and okay. So, in that respect I felt for him and a part of me was rooting for the Jess and Jace we knew in the first half of the book.
“Let me go, Jace,” she says quietly.
“I don’t know how.”
And then there was the curve-ball at 86%! Oh. My. Christ! What the hell? So, because of this curve-ball, some of you will not want to read this book. In fact, if I’d known this was coming, I wouldn’t have read it. It’s something I try to steer clear of and one of the reasons I’ve turned down a few books for reviewing. So, if you have issues, like me, about not knowing who your hero is most of the way through the book… and if you like your happy endings 100% happy, with unicorns and rainbows to boot, send me a private message and I will try to explain further. I can’t put much more on this review without including spoilers. But just know that this curve ball is what changed this book from 5 stars to 3.5 stars, for me.
“Accepting the ugly part of life is just part of living. Pain tells us we are still here; it lets us know we’ve survived. When you really think about it, pain can free you, because without pain there is no pleasure in anything.”
However, if it weren’t for the stunning writing, I probably wouldn’t have given this book a rating at all. So all of that said, this book was superbly written and absolutely gripping. I’m totally gutted about the ‘curve-ball’ and really wish I could give this more, because for the most part, I loved it! Kathryn Perez is an extremely gifted author and I will definitely be looking into her other titles. I highlighted so many quotes thorughout Therapy because the writing was just so thought-provoking and so moving.
Everyone is struggling with something.
However, there a few things I need from my books… the first is a happy ending. And I mean a happy ending that I love, that I’ve been rooting for, that makes the heart-break worthwhile and that makes me melt and grin like an idiot when I close the book for the final time. Therapy does have a happy-ish ending. The ending is happy in the way that it eludes to hope and a positive future for the characters. And it suggests that Jessica will find the love she has always wished for and is dealing with her mental health. But it isn’t the ending I was hoping for.
The second thing I always need is to know who I am supposed to fall in love with. I don’t mind love triangles, but only if it’s obvious who I’m supposed to be championing. I don’t want to be made to fall in love with someone, only to have them not win out in the end. In this book, I fell in love with two men, so it was always going to end in tears, for me.
We don’t meet people by accident. They’re meant to cross out path for a reason.
As you can tell, I’m conflicted over this book. Some of you will love this, some of you won’t. Part of me loves it and bows down to Kathryn Perez for a beautifully written, highly emotional, gripping, honest account of somebody living with the traumas of mental health issues. However, I just can’t get passed the things that broke my heart and ultimately, left it broken.
Have you read it? Tell us what you thought?
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending-ish
• Length: 386 pages
• POV: Alternates between Jessica, Jace & Kingsley.
• Narrative: First person. Present tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• WARNING. This book includes…
Self harm. Suicide attempts. Abortion. Violent bullying.
Alcohol abuse. Death. Sexual content.
• Writing: Great
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