Book Review: Suicide Watch

Suicide Watch
Published By: CreateSpace
Publication Date: December 2012
Page Count: 220
Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Source: Kindly Provided by Author
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary, Serious Issue - Suicide

Kelley York is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She has an uncanny ability to take broken characters and fix their wings. Strength and beauty lie within every character she creates. It never ceases to amaze me how her characters grow and shift throughout the course of one of her novels. She manages to shine a light onto some pretty heavy stuff and still provide a sense of hope. Novels like this one are so important for youth who are struggling to navigate the difficult currents of adolescence.

Vincent, the main character, struggles from page one. He has been bounced from foster home to foster home throughout the majority of his life and feels as if he will never find a place he belongs. In addition to the emotional turmoil, he also has severe anxiety and is a loner. When the one person he feels safe with dies, his world begins to crumble. Vincent must find a way to shed the troubled teen he has been for so long and find away to morph into an adult. At eighteen, he feels he has no choices, no future, and nobody to turn to for help. It is this desperation that leads him to log onto Suicide Watch, a website for those who are considering ending their lives. This choice will alter the course of his life and will bring Casper and Adam his way.

While I really liked this story, it did take me some time to get into it. The whole idea of the website freaked me out and made my stomach churn. On the one hand, I appreciated that Vincent was able to find a supportive community, but it wasn't a healthy one. I also kept pondering the legality of a site like that one. It really bothered me. In fact, the beginning was so dark, and Vincent was so troubled, that I considered putting this one to the side for awhile. It is certainly a novel you have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to handle.

I am so glad I chose to stick this one out. I came to care deeply about Vincent, Adam, and Casper. Their stories are not always happy, but in the end I left them with a sense of resolution. York conveys through her characters that even when life seems bleak, there is hope that it can be fixed. In addition to suicide, this book also delves into homosexuality, bullying, and terminal illness. 

Suicide Watch is one of those novels that will linger in your mind. There are so many questions and emotions raised throughout its course. It's impossible to read this one and not FEEL. It's also important to mention that this is one Indie Author who is polished - amazing writing, top notch characterization, and not a typo in sight. Bravo, Kelley York! 

One Last Gripe: I was frustrated by some of the choices Casper made, but I cannot pretend to even fathom living with her condition.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved that in spite of the dark moments, it ends on a positive, hopeful note. I think that is an extremely important message for teens who may be struggling with some of the same issues as these characters.

First Sentence: Last Christmas Eve, I watched a girl throw herself off the Woodshire Bridge.

Favorite Character: Casper

Least Favorite Character: Harbinger

18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.

But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn't going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he's starting to think she had the right idea.

Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn't even notice.

As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie's guidance, coming to terms with Casper's imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn't plan on sticking around.


  1. Wow! This sounds so intriguing and I love the idea of fighting death and all that
    GREAT review, Andrea
    Your reader,

    1. I love Kelley York's work. You should definitely check it out if you haven't already, Soma. I'd recommend any of her novels.


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