Despite my great love for contemporary YA novels that bring on just ALL THE FEELS, I was a little nervous going into this one. I was worried it might be a little too heavy for me. And it is heavy. I in no way want to take away from how well Whitney Taylor described what depression truly feels like, or how serious a condition it is. But Taylor also balanced out that darkness with this amazing, laugh-out-loud noir humor that made me fall in love with this book and with the main character as well.
This is destined to be one of those books that sneaks up on readers and surprises them with its sheer level of awesomeness. It’s humorous and heartbreaking, and it’s definitely a book for anyone that loves Jennifer Niven or Lance Rubin.
Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor
I recommend pairing this awesome contemporary read with this Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay, because it most certainly has its intense moments, but it also has a brilliant balance of light and sweetness as well.
*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*
The Nitty Gritty:
- Title: Definitions of Indefinable Things
- Author: Whitney Taylor
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
- Pub Date: April 4, 2017
- Pages: 336
This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.
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.
“It’s a strange occurrence, walking a tightrope into the night.”
While I expected this book to be somewhat up my alley, I did not expect to enjoy reading it nearly as much as I did. Mental health is a theme that is near and dear to my heart, and I’m so glad to see the YA publishing world seeking out books that raise awareness of it and feature characters that people who struggle with mental health conditions can see themselves in.
I’ve seen several examples of authors depicting mental health beautifully recently, like Jennifer Niven in All the Bright Places. I’ve also seen authors brilliantly incorporating dark humor into their novels, like Lance Rubin in Denton Little’s Deathdate. But this is the first book I’ve read that merges both of those elements in a way that acknowledges the seriousness of the mental condition while still being absolutely hilarious and entertaining.
Reggie’s defensiveness and vulnerability made her so incredibly real and relatable, and her sense of humor was absolutely endearing. It took me approximately five pages to fall in love with her. The other characters in this book are also complicated, flawed, and unexpectedly likable. I couldn’t get enough of them. The way Taylor wove their stories and character arcs together was masterful.
I was quite frankly surprised by how much I liked this book, and I think that other readers will be as well. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone. Not only does it bring attention to important issues, but it’s also just so much fun to read.
This is a a very impressive debut novel for Whitney Taylor, and I can’t wait to see more from her.
I like this cover. It represents the tone and personalities of the characters in this book really well. It’s also got a bit of a hand-drawn feel to it, which goes well with Reggie’s journaling and doodling. It also hints at some of the more poignant moments in the story. I feel that if Reggie had the opportunity to create her own cover for this book, this is exactly what she would have drawn.
Snake is a surprisingly swoon-worthy love interest. He’s certainly flawed and definitely not the type of book bae I usually go for, but he also has an amazing dark sense of humor and an unexpected confidence that make him quite crushable.
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.
Have any of you read Definitions of Indefinable Things Yet? What did you think of it? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?