Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?
Irritating. Frustrating. Freaking Irritating. I never encountered an infuriating character until Holly Bourne’s Olive in Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes. I am aware that Holly Bourne writes a book about how mental illness feels like. It was compelling and plausible that Bourne crafted a unique and remarkable portrait of the illness that she wants the readers to feel while being inside of Olive’s head. But this book is the first one where I like a book but doesn’t like the main protagonist. With conviction. It is possible, right?
You might perceive me as a hot-headed for this character or maybe I lack empathy towards people. I beg to disagree. As much as I want to understand Olive and where is she coming from. I wanted her to be aware of her environment. She’s too self-centered and she wants to get the things she wanted immediately. Which is by far, we all know, that not everything is possible.
Despite finding Olive stubborn and insensitive on a lot of occasions, I love her passion for photography. Her aggressiveness is a little bit exhausting – actually, her perspective is exhausting. It felt like I was the one who is mentally ill and suffering from the illness. I commend Holly Bourne for writing this book in well-executed emotions that played well to the readers. Because it did have an effect on me.
Olive’s symptoms are evident in every corner of the book. If you have prior knowledge about mental illness – it is easy to figure out. Do you know where my empathy lies towards the story? It wasn’t on Olive. Instead on those doctors who have to adjust for Olive. Who gave time, patience, and commitment to help those people in the camp.
Regarding Olive’s diagnosis, I was talking to Bianca from The Ultimate Fangirl and I agreed to her that Holly Bourne explains [this mental illness] is accurate for both of us. It would definitely feel like… how readers read the book, it gives voice to those people who’ve been fighting with themselves alone and being misunderstood by many.
[Another part that I would like to point out in this book is; Olive doesn’t want to drink her medicine. To those who will be reading this blog post, I am calling your attention to comply with your routine and drink your medicines. Patient compliance is one of the battles that we, medical allied health practitioners, are fighting.]
Well to balance it out, there are side characters that I find interesting. Like Sophie – she feels like the character who you will open up to. She understands other people’s feelings and emotions even if she is having small steps on understanding her own. And she’s the character that I’m rooting for her in the story, she talks about being kind and having compassion. I appreciate Sophie more when she said, “Be kinder to yourself.” Oh, that sweet child. Makes me want to hug her.
Then we have Lewis who love mathematics and he has an intriguing character. He is the perfect example of someone you might think has light anxiety or mental illness but you don’t know how little or light it was for you to someone that it feels like they are being eaten by their thoughts. Plus, expect that characters here would be in pain in different forms which makes me in pain just the thought of it.
Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes by Holly Bourne is one of the unique novels that I’ve read from this kind of MH. I am pretty satisfied with the ending but it wasn’t the story I was hoping for to happen or the story that I have in my mind. Was it good? Was it bad? You will be the judge and tell me what you think of the story.
Olive made me angry a lot of times and questioned my ability to understand a character through the book. It was Holly Bourne’s edge that she caught me off guard there. I like the concept and the message that was being implied all throughout the story. It is one of the things that the world needs now. There are scenes that break my heart because I knew what will happen but regardless of all the things that I said above. This is a good book, maybe a better book to some and I like how things in the end, ends; hopeful.
MY RATINGS: 4 STARS.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Holly started her writing career as a news journalist, where she was nominated for Best Print Journalist of the Year. She then spent six years working as an editor, a relationship advisor, and general ‘agony aunt’ for a youth charity – helping young people with their relationships and mental health.
Inspired by what she saw, she started writing teen fiction, including the best-selling, award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series which helps educate teenagers about feminism. When she turned thirty, Holly wrote her first adult novel, ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’, examining the intensified pressures on women once they hit that landmark.
Alongside her writing, Holly has a keen interest in women’s rights and is an advocate for reducing the stigma of mental health problems. She’s helped create online apps that teach young people about sexual consent, works with Women’s Aid to spread awareness of abusive relationships, and runs Rethink’s mental health book club.