Freaking Out features thirteen young adult narrators telling the story of their battle with an invisible enemy: anxiety. With anxieties ranging from a fear of dogs to that of a war refugee, Wells’ compilation of stories illustrates one uniform theme: anxiety can be a crippling affliction that severely impacts the lives of young adults. For most of the narrators, the worst aspect of anxiety was the fact that so few people truly understand the disease. This meant the teens were ostracized and dismissed by many of their peers. With this book, hopefully the true nature of what it means to have anxiety can be understood by both sufferers and those around them.
I loved this book! I suffered greatly with anxiety as a teenager, and reading these stories reminded me a lot of my own struggles. It was helpful to read stories written by real teens about their battles with anxiety, even though I have mine well under control. Though this is not a “therapy” book, the narrators do talk about strategies and techniques they learned to help themselves get through difficult situations, so it may be a useful book for you if you are interested in that. Even if you don’t have anxiety, this book does a great job of illustrating how “out of control” it feels to have anxiety, and that it isn’t possible to just “get over it”. I highly recommend this book if you are suffering from anxiety, know someone suffering from anxiety, or are interested in mental health issues. It helps to know you are not alone.
*Booklist Review, 2013
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