Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Summer of the Frogs - Tressa Green

Tomorrow's the first day of summer, so a seasonal read is in order.

This is one of the books I won in that grab-bag of indie titles a couple of Christmases ago, and I have to tell you: I would have liked this book better if I'd been able to read a blurb first.  Because the one on Goodreads says right upfront that the main character, Claire, is clinically psychotic. I read a fair amount of fantasy, as you know, and in any number of fantasies, the main character sees or hears stuff that makes other people think he or she is crazy.  So there was a pretty good chance, I thought, that the same thing was happening here.

Because if this book isn't a fantasy, then Claire really is crazy.  She's quite open about the fact that she's seeing a psychiatrist: "Sometimes I read my poetry to him.  Or just talk about what the flowers told me that day. He tries to get me to talk about how I got my scars, or about the fire or the accident or any of that kind of thing.  But I ignore him and talk about something else.  If I'm feeling agitated, I'll yell at him about how I don't want to talk about the stuff that I'm constantly trying to forget. The same stuff that insists on flashing like a picture show across my brain and makes me cry or try to kill myself."

So, yeah.  Pretty much crazy.  But I've read books in which trees and rocks speak to people -- so why not flowers?

The story is told in first person.  There's a real-world boy, another patient, who Claire goes out with a couple of times.  And there's a boy inside her head who alternately intrigues and frightens her, and who helps her to try to find her missing brother.

In the end, though, the show is Claire's, and I left it feeling unsatisfied, wishing I knew more of what was going on. 

Technicalities:  The book has some formatting issues -- in my .epub, for example, the text starts on the copyright page instead of on the next page -- and the punctuation and grammar need work.