Rating: 3 stars
Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse.
Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling.
Written by the New York Times bestselling author of Tweak, Schizo is the fascinating, and ultimately quite hopeful, story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness as he chases the clues to a missing brother.
I really enjoyed reading Schizo. It talked about issues with mental health people aren’t comfortable talking about. But did it in a way that made the reader interested in continuing to read Miles’s story.
As someone who knows very little about schizophrenia, I found this book a joy to read because it gave me a better understanding of what schizophrenia is and allowed me to look into the mind of a teenager struggling through it. There are very few mental illness novels out there that I’ve heard about so finding a novel like this that not only talks about controversial issues but also relates to the reader is something I enjoy reading.
I also enjoyed reading Schizo because I learned more about Miles’s family and the plot to find his missing brother intrigued me. From what the reader sees of his family, Miles grew up in a very loving home with a family that is always willing to support him. But I like that even though he has that structural support, he’s still shown to struggle with his schizophrenia and not try to seek help from those who love him until the very end. Mental illness isn’t easily treatable and people who have it struggle with opening up to people who can help them. And I love that even though Miles has family support and friends who care about him, the author shows readers that even someone whose life seems almost perfect doesn’t have it easy and struggles just like everyone else. The plot of finding Miles’s missing brother Teddy adds to the story too. Schizo is a novel about schizophrenia and I enjoyed reading how the search for his missing brother connects to his illness. It adds a layer to the story and allows the reader to get a better understanding of schizophrenia.
However, there are some aspects of Schizo I didn’t enjoy. Miles’s relationship with Eliza throughout the book bothered me. Even though the reader understands why Miles deeply cares about her, I felt as if Eliza latched onto him because he was the only guy when she returned who liked her. I believe her feelings for him weren’t genuine and that she just wanted to be with him until someone better came along.
Another aspect of this book I didn’t enjoy was how much it focused just on his mental illness but didn’t give the reader any aspect of his personality. It seems this novel is trying to define Miles as his illness by connecting everything in the story to schizophrenia. But Miles in Schizo has nothing else added to his personality that distinguishes him from it. He is a flat character throughout the story struggling to deal with schizophrenia and every aspect of the novel focuses on that. And I don’t like it. It bothers me because people with a mental illness are more than just their mental illness. But with the way the author has written Schizo, it’s as if his mental illness is the only aspect of his character that is important for the reader to know and the one trait that defines his entire life. It sends the reader the wrong message about mental illness and disconnects them from enjoying the story.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Schizo because it was a quick read that made me more aware of schizophrenia and brought up the importance of discussing mental illness. I look forward to reading more novels like this.