Review by Giselle Carlos, 16
Girl on the Line By Faith Gardner
*TRIGGER WARNING* The novel does mention suicide, self-harm, drugs, mental illness. The story is phenomenal, providing its readers with a newfound lust for life, an understanding that we are not our labels. Faith Gardner’s Girl on the Line is a heart-wrenching and relatable story recommended for those 14 and up.
Journey Smith is a girl with big feelings. And last year, those big feelings got a name: bipolar disorder. When Journey leaves the office of the cold-hearted psychiatrist with a new label for herself and a prescription for a bottle of large, neon-pink pills, she feels free. Her new diagnosis might make her understand herself better, but what she doesn’t expect, is for it to make her feel worse.
Months after taking the pills, Journey lays down on the grass under an oak tree, bottles of pills in her stomach, waiting to die. Only she didn’t- and now the future is like a slap in the face, one she didn’t expect to come to at all. Faith Gardner provides us with a heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, coming-of-age novel about a young girl looking to find her way in a world she thought had no room for her. Switching between her past and her present, Gardner teaches us about what it’s like to really be in the mind of a girl who’s been treated like she’s sick when all she wants to do is feel normal. As Journey tries to find her footing after that fateful day- juggling college life, heartbreak, and volunteering at a hotline, Gardner pulls at the strings of our hearts, daring us to see the world through Journey’s eyes. We begin to feel all of Journey’s big feelings, the simultaneous lust for life and the brokenness she feels because of it. While not entirely for the fainthearted, Gardner’s novel is a story of growth, heartbreak, love, and brokenness. She introduces us to characters for which we can’t help but feel the incredible love Journey feels for them, takes us through a journey in Journey’s mind, and reminds us that there’s no better moment than the present. Essentially, Gardner has weaved together a narrative that will no doubt break your heart apart, put it back together again, and do it over and over.
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