Book Review: Schizo by Nic Sheff

Amazon.com: Schizo: A novel: 9780147508850: Sheff, Nic: Books

Title: Schizo

Author: Nic Sheff

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Number of Pages: 263

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes

WARNING: THIS BOOK REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!-


Miles is a teenage boy with schizophrenia whose little brother Teddy disappears during a trip to the beach. Most people seem to think Teddy drowned, but Miles believes he was abducted. He starts playing amataur detective while wrestling with his ever-worsening hallucinations and delusions. Okay. I guess this is going to be a little bit of a rant review, mostly because Schizo could have been SO much better. I guessed the ‘big twist’ of this book around ten pages in. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. I guessed the ‘big twist’ before I even started the book. It was that obvious.

Halfway through the book I told my dad ‘if it turns out Teddy doesn’t fucking exist or some bullshit like that, I’m going to throw this GD book across the room.’ And I hoped that Nic Sheff would be better than that. I really liked Miles’ character and his voice but making Teddy a ‘manifestation of his illness’ was just plain lazy writing. I refrained from throwing the book across the room (it was from the library) but I felt seriously cheated.

I’ve read two books this year that use this plot device and you would think finding out Teddy was a product of Miles’ imagination would be devastating but he actually seems to take it in stride. The first 2/3 of the book are good and then around the time Miles goes to the mental hospital the narrative falls apart into contrivances and quick fixes for the character’s illness. One thing I can say for this book is that it was a page-turner; I finished it in one day. If the last portion of the book had lived up to the initial build-up, this easily could have been a four-star book.

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