*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Terminal Regression by Mallory Hill

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I loved the look of the futuristic cover, so requested it from NetGalley…

Laura Baily’s life is meaningless. In a world where purpose and passion are everything, Laura feels as terminalregressionthough she has no place and no business even existing. Her life is forfeit, and it would be better for everyone if she simply ended it, if she simply got a ticket for a train to oblivion and faded from memory. But what awaits her at the end of the line isn’t death…

I’m reluctant to add the rest of the rather chatty blurb, because while you can gather Laura doesn’t die from the fact that this is at the start of the book and we have another two hundred or so pages to get through, I don’t like how many spoilers it contains. This YA offering has a really interesting protagonist. She is numb. Life washes around her and while her artistic, talented mother is endlessly encouraging and positive, Laura’s efforts to try and find her own enthusiasm and passion have all ended in failure. Wretched and discouraged, she decides to volunteer for the train to oblivion. Everyone knows about the train – it ships out criminals, misfits and those who can’t cope with living anymore and they never come back. There are also a handful of talented, effective people who are commandeered to board the train – like Laura’s dad eight years earlier – and they are never seen again, either.

It’s a tricky business writing a protagonist with severe depression. The classic symptoms – such as an inability to get out of bed, inability to communicate and prolonged fits of crying to name but a few – don’t generally make for the sort of character readers are going to warm to. But Hill manages to pull it off, which is a major achievement in this debut novel. She also tackles the issue of suicide head-on to the extent that it was causing me some concern, given the target audience are teens. I was uneasy with a protagonist who declared she’d rather be dead – and then acts on that impulse. However, by the end of the book I was far happier with her overall stance and felt that she handles the subject with sympathy and insight.

This is a brave book that wears its heart on its sleeve. The inevitable romantic element is very sweet, to the extent that this particular reader who is a dyed-in-the-wool cynic about such matters was won over by the love interest, who I initially was convinced would turn out to be some psychotic murderer. The sequence of events near the end of the book also had me wondering whether it was realistic to have such a seismic shift without any deaths, but then recalled the bloodless revolutions that have occurred throughout history. Overall, I think Hill has pulled off this one – an impressively ambitious book that marks Hill as One to Watch in the future. Receiving a copy of Terminal Regression from the publisher via NetGalley has in no way affected my honest opinion of this book.
8/10

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6 responses »

  1. As soon as I read the blurb , I went to check the book out on Goodreads and it had a YA tag on it and I was confused , “Talks of ending own life in a YA BOOK?” , I said and then I read your review , I gotta say I am curious to know what happens in the final pages of this book , but at the same time it has that YA tag … \/( ‘-‘ )\/

    • I was equally concerned, but given in my granddaughter’s Year 7 class – she’s 12 – she was busy trying to talk down one of her friends from suicidal thoughts, I think the situation has to be dealt with in this age group. And this book does so in a useful, proactive way without any sense of talking down or under-estimating the difficulties of someone suffering with severe depression.

  2. I can’t see the cover properly on my screen so I’m going to have to look it up. The books sounds really interesting and yes, definitely hard to write about someone who has depression. It takes a good author to do that and not make the book depressing.

  3. Aaaand I got to the review :). Even though YA is usually not my thing, this book still holds my interest. I think it’s what you say about tackling the uneasy topic. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • Yes – it’s a really interesting book. About halfway through I wasn’t sure that she’d pulled it off, but by the end she had convinced me. And I do think it important to address this with youngsters, who seem to be discussing the subject amongst themselves, anyhow…

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