I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.
Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.
“How does anyone know they are depressed? You feel equally alive and dead and have no idea how that’s even possible. And everything around you doesn’t seem so full anymore. And you can’t tell if the world is empty or you are…”
Sometimes you just really connect with a book and from page one of Definitions of Indefinable Things everything just clicked. I really needed a book that I could fall in love with. I started reading it after putting aside two other books, which I just really hate doing. Definitions of Indefinable Things was just what I needed. It was full of humour, sarcasm and snarky dialogue. I laughed. I teared up. It really hit home in so many ways. I saw so much of my teenage self in the characters that I really wish I would have had novels like this when I was younger. It would have helped me through so much.
The story focuses on Reggie Mason, who suffers from depression following a significant loss. It discusses the struggles of living with depression openly and honestly. There’s no glossing over the symptoms, the medicines, doctor visits or the constant ups and downs. Here depression is confronted head on. There are some good days and some that are beyond your control. I think that’s one of the most important things that many people don’t understand about depression. YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT! It’s not like you can snap your fingers and it’s gone. There’s a scene between Reggie and her mom where her mother accuses her of being depressed on purpose. Reading it, along with so many other passages, knocked the wind right out of me. I could really relate to a lot of what happened in the story and I cannot explain how important that was. Reggie wasn’t a positive character and hated the world, but because she was written as flawed, brutally honest and real I couldn’t help but love her.
Another character I adored was Carla Banks, the former popular girl who spends the majority of the book coming to terms with her pregnancy. I enjoyed reading about her budding friendship with Reggie. They were complete opposites but that’s what made it great. They both had their problems but handled it with such maturity and resolve. Also, I appreciated Carla because while she was losing friends and her social position she never made excuses for her situation. The other main character was Snake who I’m just not so sure about. His personality was really hit or miss depending on the scenes or part of the book I was in. He came off as too smug. He was trying too hard and I didn’t always believe it. To be honest, I would have liked just a book about Reggie and Carla. It would have been much more interesting, watching the girls help each other through their difficult situations. You don’t need to insert a romance to help a girl discover come to terms with herself. Just saying…
Overall, this was a fantastic debut and a novel that I hope resonates with a lot of readers. Mental health needs to be spoken about openly and without judgement. These types of books are essential and I’m eagerly looking forward to the author’s next release!
Whitney Taylor is a YA writer that only speaks one language—fangirl. When she’s not devouring books, she spends her time taking selfies, obsessing over any TV show with a love triangle, and eating way too much McDonald’s. She’s an English and Psychology major from Virginia that likes to pretend she’s a supermodel from New York City. Her friends call her The Queen and she has a monogrammed robe to prove it. Bow down.