Books · Reviews

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton // Unlike anything else I have ever read

25695640 4.5 stars

Publication Date: July 4th, 2017

Fans of More Happy Than Not, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story will cheer for Adam as he struggles with schizophrenia in this brilliantly honest and unexpectedly funny debut.

Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.

Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.

I was provided an eARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton is a funny, charming read that will keep you smiling throughout. Adam has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has been put under an experimental drug to see whether that helps reduce his hallucinations. He has just shifted to a new private school where no one knows about his illness, and he tries to keep it that way. His mother makes him start seeing a therapist weekly where Adam refuses to talk so this book is a collection of everything he tells his therapist about his life.

I didn’t know what to expect with this book, to be honest. I requested it because the blurb sounded interesting and I’ve been trying to read more books that feature mental illnesses. I’ve only read about schizophrenia in my biology textbook before and don’t know much about it, but this book gave me a great insight into what it must feel like to have it. I cannot comment on how accurate the representation is, but it was a great read.

I’m sure schizophrenia manifests differently in different people but Adam is someone who was very aware of the fact that his hallucinations weren’t real but he had to keep reminding himself of the fact. Reading in first person from someone with schizophrenia was very interesting. I thought Walton portrayed his mental struggle of trying to convince himself that his hallucinations were not real was excellent.

I loved Adam’s voice. He was smart and funny and very normal, apart from the fact that he saw things others didn’t. He had normal thoughts and feelings, and this book had a lot of light moments which I didn’t expect from a book about mental illness. My favourite part about the book was just reading about Adam’s opinions and thoughts about things. He was hilarious and sarcastic and brilliant. I really liked that the author wrote this book about a serious topic, but still made it funny and sweet.

Adam’s family was wonderful, which is always a plus in YA novels. There was a family member who insisted that Adam was crazy, which was sad, but quite realistic. Adam’s friends at school were also lovely. Maya was a great character – she was so unlike the typical YA love interest and I loved her so much. All the characters in the story were well fleshed out and though the book was told only in the form of journal entries, I felt like I got to know all the characters. I adored the romance in this story and found it so cute. It was awkward and sweet, and didn’t feel like insta-love at all.

The only thing that I disliked about the book is something that a lot of people will not relate to – it was too long. While I loved reading Adam’s thoughts and feelings, the book did drag on. It stretched through a massive time span and got quite repetitive so I got a little bit bored. However the ending was perfect, if a few chapters in the middle were condensed, I would have liked it more. Other than that, I saw a few editing errors which I’m sure have been corrected in the final version.

I highly recommend this story if you want to read a funny, sweet story that is different from a typical young adult book.



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