When Jason Milwaukee’s best friend, Sunshine, disappears from the face of the earth, the whole town, including Jason, starts searching for her. But the insistent voices in Jason’s head won’t let him get to the heart of the mystery—he’s schizophrenic, and the voices make it hard to know what is real and what is not. As the chase becomes more panicked, Jason’s meds start wearing off, and he is looking more and more guilty. But of what, exactly?
Both brilliantly witty and intensely honest, this poignant novel draws upon the author’s many years as an adolescent psychologist, but it’s Vaught’s powerful voice and expertly crafted mystery that will keep the pages turning. (From Goodreads)
Best Bits: First off, I think I should just say that I appreciate the uniqueness of the characters in Freaks Like Us. Yes, Jason and his friends have mental disorders, but as Vaught said in my interview with her, this isn't a book about life with schizophrenia. It's a book about friendship, love, and trust. The thing is, I think readers will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be diagnosed with something like schizophrenia. I'm not saying that the exact symptoms Jason experiences over the course of the book should be generalized to all people with schizophrenia. What I'm saying is that I hope this can help combat the stigma, and allows teens to look at how they treat people who are classified by society as "different" (even though they aren't different at all). Ok, off of my soap box...the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I literally read this in a night because I had to find out what happened to Sunshine! Vaught did an excellent job making me care about her characters, and keeping my in suspense.
Nit Picks: Since this book is a fast read, it didn't always get as in-depth as I'd like. I really wanted to know more about the characters. The flashbacks from Jason's perspective did provide some insight into his friends and family, but I really wanted more. The ending, while shocking, is one that doesn't explain everything to the reader. I got just enough information to draw my own conclusions about what would happen to the characters. I know that's a pet peeve of some readers, so just be aware that it isn't going to spell it out.
Freaks Like Us
By Susan Vaught
Published by Bloomsbury USA
Check out my interview with Susan Vaught here