Book Review: The Museum of Us
By: Tara Wilson Redd
Published By: Random House/Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Young Adult - Contemporary
Sadie lives two lives. In reality, she is a high school student with a boyfriend and awesome best friend, but she prefers to live within her imagination whenever possible. George, the one she loves more than anyone, exists solely within her imagination, but Sadie is convinced that he is real. The novel opens when Sadie and George are off on one of their adventures, but the night ends abruptly when Sadie crashes the antique truck she is driving into a tree.
As the paramedics work on Sadie and prepare her for transport to the hospital, Sadie frantically searches for George and even calls out his name multiple times. Calling out to a figment of your imagination - especially after a trauma - will certainly raise some eyebrows, so Sadie finds herself seeing a psychatrist along with the medical team who is caring for her injuries. Sadie knows she's not crazy and nothing is wrong with her, but she also feels a need to protect George. She can't let anyone know about their relationship and the adventures they have had over the years. Nobody would understand. Sadie has taken the concept of an imaginary friend to an extreme.
Watching Sadie's story unravel spoke volumes on what its like to have a mental illness. I certainly enjoy daydreaming and spending time imagining stories, but I have never crossed over into thinking I was actually living those moments. Sadie's inability to distinguish between reality and imagination was fascinating to me because its another example of the intricacies of the human mind as well as the amount of variation in mental health. There are so many things about the brain and personality that are foreign to me.
This novel is a short one so I was able to read it quickly, but in many ways it was a difficult read for me. Sadie isn't the most reliable narrator. I also never connected with her as a reader which made it more difficult for me to become truly invested in her story. I did find the concept behind this one to be unique and intriguing which caused me to bump my rating from a 3 to a 3.5. I do think the synopsis had me thinking this novel was going to be more fantasy than realistic fiction which could have impacted my experience. I am all for reading realistic fiction that tackles difficult issues, but I truly have to be in the right mindset before taking that sort of reading journey. It should also be noted that there is some cutting mentioned as well. Self harm is always difficult for me to read about, but sadly, that aspect may connect with readers who find themselves in a similar situation.
If you're looking for a new slant on mental health and a compelling journey through human emotions and imagination, then this would be the perfect title for your summer reading list. Just prepare yourself for some heavy stuff with very little light and fluffy. The writing style is somewhat stark in comparison to my traditional preferred reads. Again, this novel wasn't my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the merits it provides.
One Last Gripe: The ending made the resolution a little too tidy and simple.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I love the scene in the museum with all the memories in the glass boxes. That was an extremely cool concept.
First Sentence: George's blue eyes captured her.
Favorite Character: I didn't have one.
Least Favorite Character: Sadie
Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.
Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.
When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.