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Acclaimed author Lizzy Mason delivers a moving contemporary YA novel about mental illness, young romance, and the impact of family history on one teen’s future, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Robin Benway, and Kathleen Glasgow. When eighteen-year-old Sydney Holman announces that she has decided to attend NYU, her overprotective mom is devastated. Her decision means she w Acclaimed author Lizzy Mason delivers a moving contemporary YA novel about mental illness, young romance, and the impact of family history on one teen’s future, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Robin Benway, and Kathleen Glasgow. When eighteen-year-old Sydney Holman announces that she has decided to attend NYU, her overprotective mom is devastated. Her decision means she will be living in the Big City instead of commuting to nearby Rutgers like her mom had hoped. It also means she'll be close to off-limits but dreamy Grayson—a guitar prodigy who is going to Juilliard in the fall and very much isn't single. But while she dreams of her new life, Sydney discovers a world-changing truth about her father, who left when she was little due to a drug addiction—that he has schizophrenia and is currently living on the streets of New York City. She seizes the opportunity to get to know him, to understand who he is and learn what may lie in store for her if she, too, is diagnosed. Even as she continues to fall for Grayson, Sydney is faced with a difficult decision: Should she stay close to home so her mom can watch over her, or follow the desire to take risks and discover her true self?


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Acclaimed author Lizzy Mason delivers a moving contemporary YA novel about mental illness, young romance, and the impact of family history on one teen’s future, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Robin Benway, and Kathleen Glasgow. When eighteen-year-old Sydney Holman announces that she has decided to attend NYU, her overprotective mom is devastated. Her decision means she w Acclaimed author Lizzy Mason delivers a moving contemporary YA novel about mental illness, young romance, and the impact of family history on one teen’s future, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Robin Benway, and Kathleen Glasgow. When eighteen-year-old Sydney Holman announces that she has decided to attend NYU, her overprotective mom is devastated. Her decision means she will be living in the Big City instead of commuting to nearby Rutgers like her mom had hoped. It also means she'll be close to off-limits but dreamy Grayson—a guitar prodigy who is going to Juilliard in the fall and very much isn't single. But while she dreams of her new life, Sydney discovers a world-changing truth about her father, who left when she was little due to a drug addiction—that he has schizophrenia and is currently living on the streets of New York City. She seizes the opportunity to get to know him, to understand who he is and learn what may lie in store for her if she, too, is diagnosed. Even as she continues to fall for Grayson, Sydney is faced with a difficult decision: Should she stay close to home so her mom can watch over her, or follow the desire to take risks and discover her true self?

30 review for Between the Bliss and Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is bittersweet. You smile. You cry. You sigh. You sniff. You wipe your tears more. Then eventually you nod and accept. I feel my heart hurts but it is still filled with so much hope after I finished my reading. Such a bittersweet, thought provoking, moving story about mental illness, coping mechanism of young adults and their dysfunctional family relationships, finding their way to adulthood by doing more mistakes. Sydney Holman thinks she can convince her overprotective mom to accept her This is bittersweet. You smile. You cry. You sigh. You sniff. You wipe your tears more. Then eventually you nod and accept. I feel my heart hurts but it is still filled with so much hope after I finished my reading. Such a bittersweet, thought provoking, moving story about mental illness, coping mechanism of young adults and their dysfunctional family relationships, finding their way to adulthood by doing more mistakes. Sydney Holman thinks she can convince her overprotective mom to accept her grandparents’ grandiose birthday gift ( which is additional 30K check and they already paid entire school tuition and housing expanses. I wish they could adopt me, too, if I would be nicer and stop drinking. Nope, I think, it wouldn’t work for both of the parties! ) and her decision to go to NYU! At least she didn’t change her major but her mother is still upset to get financial aid from her parents in law. Sydney is abandoned by her drug addict and alcoholic father when she was little girl and when she deals with depression and her mood is getting darker, she talks with her father as her imaginary friend. She keeps this situation as a secret. But when she decides to spend some time at her grandparents’ beach house, bumping into her sudden crush Grayson Armstrong, who is charming, sweet, gifted musician, coming from wealthy family, is also taken by gorgeous girl, she thinks at least they can be friends and she can spend some quality time by knowing more about her own family. But she learns more than she can absorb: the reason behind her father’s abandonment is a psychological illness: he is schizophrenic, homeless, living in NYC streets which means there’s %10 chance she may be inherited the illness. Sydney feels lost, needing to find answers about her father by looking for him at the streets of NY with the help of her best friend Elliott. She also deals with the hearth ache after she starts to fall for Grayson and she feels like she is not good enough for him because of unknown things about her own mental condition. But finding her dad may not be the exact solutions of her problems because firstly she has to discover who she is , what she is afraid of, what her dreams and expectations about her own future are. It’s well written novel with realistic approach to the illness. I loved the characters. Especially Elliott is my favorite! Grayson was sweet pie. I wish he may stand up for himself but living in a dysfunctional family and a bully, abusive father who has real anger issues made him more hesitant, people pleaser to balance the toxic energy in their home which I actually resonate with. And I loved Sydney: her bravery, her confusion, her quirkiness, her genuine and straightforward style. Her mother raised her as a fighter and overachiever so she has enough confidence and she deals with her insecurities better than most teenagers do. I’m giving four heartwarming, hopeful, musical, sweet stars! I also enjoyed the previous book of the author and I’m looking forward to read more works of her. Special thanks to NetGalley and Soho Press/ Soho Teen for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest BETWEEN THE BLISS AND ME is about a teenage girl named Sydney. Her mom has always been overprotective because her father was a drug addict and a bit wild and when she finds out that Sydney has gone over her head to get money from her grandparents to attend NYU instead of Rutgers, this drives a rift between them. Sydney goes to stay with her WASP-y grandparents and ends up falling for a boy with a girlfriend who has problems of her own, a Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest BETWEEN THE BLISS AND ME is about a teenage girl named Sydney. Her mom has always been overprotective because her father was a drug addict and a bit wild and when she finds out that Sydney has gone over her head to get money from her grandparents to attend NYU instead of Rutgers, this drives a rift between them. Sydney goes to stay with her WASP-y grandparents and ends up falling for a boy with a girlfriend who has problems of her own, and in case that isn't enough drama, after a night of partying, her grandparents drop yet another bombshell: Sydney's dad wasn't just a drug addict: He also had schizophrenia. This book tries to do and be a lot of things. It's an analysis of the super-rich of New England and how their closed circles hide a lot of problems. It's about first impressions and second impressions and finding yourself. It's about mental wellness and the coping period that sometimes comes with finding out that you have a mental illness. It's about how society fails those with mental illness again and again with insufficient resources and crumbling infrastructure. Obviously, these are pretty weighty subjects to handle and I do think the book does it mostly well. The author's writing style actually reminded me a lot of Sarah Dessen, who wrote a lot of stories with unlikable but relatable heroines that explored changing family dynamics, coming of age, and claustrophobic communities. I think I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot more as a teen, because of that. On the note of mental health, I think the author handles the subject of schizophrenia respectfully while trying to portray someone who does not cope well (without sensationalizing it). I do wish it hadn't had the romance squeezed in. It felt superfluous and detracted from the main storyline. I also didn't really like that the heroine was lusting after him when he had a girlfriend. I know this happens IRL, but in this case, it just felt like pointless OW drama. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 to 3.5 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    review coming soon! Thank you to Soho Press for this ARC Release Date: 7 April 2021

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liza Wiemer

    Phenomenal read! My official blurb: Filled with compassion and hope, BETWEEN THE BLISS AND ME opens a window into the world of mental illness in an intimate, eye-opening, and thought-provoking way. Impossible to put down, readers will finish the last page knowing that love, acceptance and self-care are the keys to living one’s best life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Her mother had always been a bit overprotective, but when Sydney revealed her decision to attend NYU and live at school, she learned the truth about why her mother wanted to keep her close to home. Though Sydney had been aware of her estranged father's addictions issues, she never knew he was schizophrenic, and that she could inherit his illness. As with her previous book, The Art of Losing, Mason's new release walloped me in my feels. Once again, she took on mental health issues, which were exp Her mother had always been a bit overprotective, but when Sydney revealed her decision to attend NYU and live at school, she learned the truth about why her mother wanted to keep her close to home. Though Sydney had been aware of her estranged father's addictions issues, she never knew he was schizophrenic, and that she could inherit his illness. As with her previous book, The Art of Losing, Mason's new release walloped me in my feels. Once again, she took on mental health issues, which were explored from multiple angles in an honest and thoughtful way. This was supposed to be an exciting summer for Sydney. She had graduated, gained entry to her dream school, and was gifted a large check from her grandparents, which alleviated some of her money woes. But it turned into a summer of pain, worry, and guilt. Learning her father was mentally ill and homeless was devastating for Sydney, and choosing NYU over Rutgers caused a rift between her and her mother. I can only imagine what a shock it would be to learn such things about a loved one, and then to have the possibility of the same thing happening to you hanging over your head would be terribly difficult. As expected, Sydney was shook. My heart went out to her as she struggled to come to terms with everything she learned, while also questioning her own mental health at times. There were some painful moments later in the story, but they felt necessary to illustrate how difficult it can be for the family of someone who is ill. It was that helplessness and hopelessness they have to deal with, when they are unable to help their loved ones. I appreciated that Mason tempered the story with a few subplots focusing on friendship, romance, and figuring out who you are. These plot lines worked well with the main focus of the story, and there were even some great connections in there. One overlap that stuck out to me was the comparison between different mental health issues and how some are deemed "more acceptable". The core of this story was mental illness, and Mason really delved into it and attacked the issue from multiple sides. She shined a light on the fact that a large percentage of the homeless population suffer from mental health issues, and the system is not well equipped to give them the help they need. She shared the history of the mental health care system in the US, and gave me glimpses of the many challenges the mentally ill face in the legal, prison, and health care systems. It's fantastic to see such an open discourse about mental health issues, and I welcomed it. Overall: Honest, thoughtful, and ultimately full of hope. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  6. 4 out of 5

    Novel Novice

    Between the Bliss & Me will hit you right in the feels. Set during that unique time between high school and college, the book packs an emotional punch while exploring themes about family, first love, and mental health. It’s smart, realistic fiction with heart and humor.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I was excited to read this. Any book that has a blurb comparing it to Jandy Nelson's work had better have a strong presence, because Nelson's works are extraordinary. This was definitely in the same realm as I'll Give you the Sun and very realistically deals with the nuances of graduating high school and the stigma of mental illness. There were a few flaws (the friendship Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I was excited to read this. Any book that has a blurb comparing it to Jandy Nelson's work had better have a strong presence, because Nelson's works are extraordinary. This was definitely in the same realm as I'll Give you the Sun and very realistically deals with the nuances of graduating high school and the stigma of mental illness. There were a few flaws (the friendship with the main character's grandparent's hired help didn't exactly ring as authentic) but otherwise, the meatier parts of it were handled with grace and authenticity. Sydney is a high school senior, ready to head to NYU and finally live away from her mother. Thanks to a generous gift from her grandparents, she will be able to afford the tuition as well as a place to live while in college. Now all she has to do is tell her mother that she won't be living at home. Sydney knows her mother worries about her and she knows that her father's departure from their lives 15 years ago, as well as his addiction problems, are partially to blame. What she doesn't know, and is shocked to find out from her grandparents, is that her father is schizophrenic, homeless, and living on the streets of NY. Oh, and she has a 10% chance of inheriting the disease. As Syd deals with this newfound reality, she begins to fear she can already sense changes in herself that signal the onset of the disease. And until she sees her father for herself, and understands the life he is living, she won't be able to move on. What follows is a heartwrenching look at what it takes to love someone with a mental illness, as well as what happens when you know you are headed down that path as well. Recommended, especially for collections where contemporary fiction is popular and mental health stories are in demand. Recommended for grades 10 and up.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    I read this story in less than a day. Soho Teen surprised me by suddenly approving my request for an ARC just before publication date. My request had been pending for months (like about three or four or so ...), and after the sudden approval (thanks Soho Teen!) I decided to read it almost immediately. This is a fast, nice, and easy read, and it deals with heavy and important topics like schizophrenia, anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction, and anger issues. I loved Grayson, who was such a super cut I read this story in less than a day. Soho Teen surprised me by suddenly approving my request for an ARC just before publication date. My request had been pending for months (like about three or four or so ...), and after the sudden approval (thanks Soho Teen!) I decided to read it almost immediately. This is a fast, nice, and easy read, and it deals with heavy and important topics like schizophrenia, anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction, and anger issues. I loved Grayson, who was such a super cute and sweet guy. I really, really liked the way mental illness is portrayed in this book. But I didn’t love the story that much. For most of the book, I didn’t laugh, my heart didn’t thud in my throat, I hadn’t goosebumps, and I never had a lump in my throat. I just read, which was incredibly easy, so I flew through the story, but I just didn’t feel anything. I think part of that was because I didn’t like Sidney very much. This was a nice in between, a story that helped me ease my mind for a while. I’ll probably read other books by Lizzy Mason because her premises are definitively interesting, and therefore I’ve put her first book on my TBR. I hope it’ll make me feel more, though. I received an ARC from Soho Teen and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Desi Wolff-Myren

    Thanks to NetGalley for providing this digital copy for me to read. Sydney Holman is about to leave for college. She’s starting to make some choices for herself, met a boy, and sings part-time in band. All signs are pointing toward a fantastic final summer in New Jersey. She also has grown up knowing very little about her father. This is the summer that she finally learns the truth and it changes everything she knows about herself and her family. This may be a little spoiler-y... be warned. I re Thanks to NetGalley for providing this digital copy for me to read. Sydney Holman is about to leave for college. She’s starting to make some choices for herself, met a boy, and sings part-time in band. All signs are pointing toward a fantastic final summer in New Jersey. She also has grown up knowing very little about her father. This is the summer that she finally learns the truth and it changes everything she knows about herself and her family. This may be a little spoiler-y... be warned. I really appreciated how the author handled the discussion of mental illness. I like how she contrasted the mother (who had been dealing with the ramifications of her husband’s schizophrenia for 18 years), the grandparents’ (who tried to help by throwing money and resources to “fix” the problem), with Sydney (with her naïveté that she could get her father to get better). The addition of the lawyer was a great way to give information to the reader about the history of the mental health system in America without sounding like a lecture. Overall, a great book for teens and adults alike. A lghthearted love story with a powerful message about mental health.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Between the Bliss and Me in exchange for an honest review. Between the Bliss and Me follows 18-year old Sydney after accepting a huge check from her grandparents to go to NYU against her mother's wishes. From there, Sydney grows closer to her grandparents and discovers something shocking about her absentee father: he has schizophrenia. Sydney grapples with friendship, love, her future, family, and her fears of having schizophrenia herself while try Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Between the Bliss and Me in exchange for an honest review. Between the Bliss and Me follows 18-year old Sydney after accepting a huge check from her grandparents to go to NYU against her mother's wishes. From there, Sydney grows closer to her grandparents and discovers something shocking about her absentee father: he has schizophrenia. Sydney grapples with friendship, love, her future, family, and her fears of having schizophrenia herself while trying to find her father. While plotwise this was okay, I feel like a lot of the story is heavily centered around Sydney and her connections to other characters and I found the narrative too hollow for me to really believe in any of their relationships. There was something subtle, but important missing here that kept this from being excellent.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andi (Andi's ABCs)

    Another gem by Lizzy. This book isn’t out until 2021, but add to your tbr. Review to come much later!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Inkpot Blogger

    This book wasn’t my forte, but it was still a good read. I usually go for something with more action and suspense, but obviously this was not of that sort of genre. It was, however, very insightful and interesting to read. I liked its fresh perspective on mental illness as seen through the way it impacts the family and loved ones, rather than the individual themselves. There were quite a few cliches in this novel though, which could have been avoided. Things such as the gay best friend and writi This book wasn’t my forte, but it was still a good read. I usually go for something with more action and suspense, but obviously this was not of that sort of genre. It was, however, very insightful and interesting to read. I liked its fresh perspective on mental illness as seen through the way it impacts the family and loved ones, rather than the individual themselves. There were quite a few cliches in this novel though, which could have been avoided. Things such as the gay best friend and writing songs for each other just felt a bit fake. The romance was also a bit too good to be true, but then again, we don’t read books for the things that can happen in real life. Rating: 2.5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sacha

    Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Teen for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication. Updated 4/6/21 3 stars There are some good intentions here, but I had serious struggles with this novel as a whole. Sydney is 18, and she is ready to leave the nest for NYU on her grandparents' dime. Sounds good, right? Well, she hasn't bothered to tell her mother that she will not be living at home or going to school where planned OR that her grandparents are Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Teen for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication. Updated 4/6/21 3 stars There are some good intentions here, but I had serious struggles with this novel as a whole. Sydney is 18, and she is ready to leave the nest for NYU on her grandparents' dime. Sounds good, right? Well, she hasn't bothered to tell her mother that she will not be living at home or going to school where planned OR that her grandparents are footing the bill. When her mom finds out about all of this, information overload kicks in to high gear. In a very short period of time, Sydney learns some unexpected truths about her father that not only impact her as his child but also as an autonomous being. This whole story line centers on mental health, and as a person who has seen some examples of what's discussed here close up, there seems to be a lot of oversimplifying and lacking development where needed. I do think that Sydney's mental health journey has the bones of a good telling, but it's too surface level, and her father's is...weirdly didactic at times. What shocked me about this book is how so much of it could be moving and well executed and then this bizarro romance with more problems than I can count shows up and distracts everyone - characters and readers alike - from more meaningful life events. The last line of this novel infuriated me, and if I had been reading on something other than my Kindle, I might have thrown it. So this book, for me, is filled with highs and lows. I'd have loved to read a more focused study of this character and leave the music, terrible cousin, and especially the lackluster romance at the door.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jayden

    *ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review* 4.5 stars. I've been searching for a fictional novel with mentally ill characters, that focuses on mentally ill themes that feels real for quite some time, with the exception of a couple of novels that I read in high school, I've had a hard time finding anything aside from memoirs that fits the bill, until this. Between the Bliss and Me starts out as what is seemingly typical at-home drama between a mother and daughter *ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review* 4.5 stars. I've been searching for a fictional novel with mentally ill characters, that focuses on mentally ill themes that feels real for quite some time, with the exception of a couple of novels that I read in high school, I've had a hard time finding anything aside from memoirs that fits the bill, until this. Between the Bliss and Me starts out as what is seemingly typical at-home drama between a mother and daughter. Early in the book, Sydney's paternal grandparents give her a check for $30,000 to with basically as she pleases, as well as offer to pay for her college at NYU in full. Sydney's mother is immediately upset by this, largely because she had expected Sydney to take a scholarship from another school, and didn't expect her to be moving out so soon. She is also vocal about disagreeing with the idea of Sydney taking her grandparent's money, as Sydney has been estranged from her father almost her whole life, with Sydney being under the impression that he abandoned her because of struggles with drugs and alcohol. Sydney's mother expresses worry that she will feel she owes her grandparents if she doesn't earn her own way through school. This causes a rift between the two and Sydney takes a vacation at her grandparent's beach house to get away from her mom. Upon arriving at her grandparent's very bougie beach house, the first time ever visiting in her life, Sydney makes friends with their in home assistant, Marta, almost immediately. Marta invites Sydney to a party, where Sydney ends up drinking for the first time, coming back to her grandparent's house very loudly and having to face them in the morning. Her grandparents are visibly upset about the previous night, however not for the reasons that Sydney had assumed. This is when the news is broken to Sydney that her father has been struggling with schizophrenia for over a decade, and that she has a 10% chance of inheriting it. Her grandparents warn her that alcohol and drug use can trigger schizophrenia/psychosis, and tell her their story of trying to save her father, who is estranged from them and refuses medication. There are so many important topics in this story that I'm going to skip over talking about the side characters or the cute romance, and even the friends sharing beds, because holy crap y'all, this book discusses not just the experiences of the mentally ill, but the rights involved around forcefully medicating someone, as well as the ethics of that, the mass rates of incarceration faced by the mentally ill, the deinstitutionalization under Reagan, and more. This is all done so well because it's told through the narrative of Sydney, who is struggling to understand how it is illegal to force her father to take medication, but it's not illegal to let him suffer and starve/drink himself to death in the streets. The importance of mentally ill people having their own autonomy is discussed when Sydney's mom admits she chose to respect Sydney's father's wishes, even though they hurt her, and they might be the wrong ones. Sydney's therapist also suggests this. Because Sydney's father is not seen as a danger to himself or others, nothing can be done to force him to get help he doesn't want. This book grapples with a lot of ethical dilemmas that many people do not think about until they are in the situation, and it is driven home with Sydney knowing the risk is there for her to develop schizophrenia, and therefore puts herself in her father's shoes and thinks about what she would want. I loved the discussions of the ethics of forced treatment for mentally ill/psychotic people, as many of us are medicated against our will, especially when involuntarily institutionalized. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a divisive topic, and differs on a person-to-person basis. Some mentally ill folks, like myself, are very grateful for their medication and feel that the side effects are worth the benefits, others don't want to accept medication and maybe won't ever. The vast majority of people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, as Sydney discovers in her research. The ultimate question this book brings to the table is: if someone is psychotic and only a danger to themselves (albeit not in a suicidal way), is it ethical to force them into treatment? Or do mentally ill people deserve to be able to make choices about their bodies in the same way as everyone else?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda B

    Okay, this was not an easy book to read. It centers around mental health and mental illnesses. So, I want to start by saying that because I think this was a really good story but it’s not going to be for anyone. Sydney just turned eighteen. She’s getting ready to go off to college, except she’s not going to the college that her mom thinks she’s going to. Sydney, with the help of her grandparents, has decided that she wants to go to NYU. This is not what Sydney and her mom discussed and agreed to Okay, this was not an easy book to read. It centers around mental health and mental illnesses. So, I want to start by saying that because I think this was a really good story but it’s not going to be for anyone. Sydney just turned eighteen. She’s getting ready to go off to college, except she’s not going to the college that her mom thinks she’s going to. Sydney, with the help of her grandparents, has decided that she wants to go to NYU. This is not what Sydney and her mom discussed and agreed to. Sydney’s mom has always been over protective. And she learns why when she visits her grandparents beach house. She learns that her mom has been keeping information about her father from her. Her father has schizophrenia. She also learns that there is a chance she could develop symptoms over the next few years. While all of this is going on, she meets a boy, Grayson. She has a crush on him and ends up seeing him while she’s staying with her grandparents. The only problem with her crush on Grayson? He has a girlfriend. He also has a really bitchy cousin. So, I really liked Sydney. She’s anxious all the time, but she doesn’t let her anxiety stop her. She stands up for herself. She has all these doubts about herself, but they don’t really show on the outside. I really liked how Sydney was portrayed and how her emotions and reactions were shown. I don’t have personal experience with schizophrenia so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation, but it seemed it be handled thoughtfully from my outside perspective. I thought it was interesting the way that Mason managed to show how everyone reacts differently to mental illness. We see Sydney’s grandparents come to a slow realization that there’s nothing they can do for their son, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t try to help him in any way they can again and again. We see Sydney’s mom listen to her husband when he asks her to let him go. There’s also some really good conversation about the lack of support available for people with mental illnesses, about the unfairness of the courts and prison systems when it comes to caring for people with mental illnesses. I think these topics were well done. Now, the romance with Grayson was the one thing in this story that I didn’t really care for. I think everything that was done could have been left the same, minus Grayson as a romantic interest. I think it could have been a completely platonic relationship and the story would still have had the same effect. I don’t think this needed to be romantic in anyway. I think it would have been an even better story had it just been Sydney’s story about learning to accept herself. Overall, I think this was a really hard hitting and emotional portrayal about what it’s like to have a family member with a mental illness and feeling helpless to help them. I especially liked Sydney’s friends. Eliot is the light of my life and I loved every moment that he was on the page. I also really loved Magda. Magda reminded me of quite a few of my friends from my hometown, which is a beachy town like the one in parts of this book. So, we also get people from other countries that come over on a student visa and work for the summer. I always loved working with them. They, much like Magda were always so interesting and fun to be around. They also always threw the best parties. I think this will be a book that some will really love and others will not. So, take this review with a grain of salt and read it if the topic is one that you can handle.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Between the Bliss and Me is such a heart-wrenching, bittersweet yet beautiful story. You feel everything while reading this book and you can't help but feel for everyone involved. Sydney Holman is graduating from high school and is ready to tackle college in New York. The problem is, she has to convince her mother who wants her to stay at home and go to school near their home. When Sydney's grandparents give her a large sum of money as a graduation gift, and out the fact she's chosen to go away f Between the Bliss and Me is such a heart-wrenching, bittersweet yet beautiful story. You feel everything while reading this book and you can't help but feel for everyone involved. Sydney Holman is graduating from high school and is ready to tackle college in New York. The problem is, she has to convince her mother who wants her to stay at home and go to school near their home. When Sydney's grandparents give her a large sum of money as a graduation gift, and out the fact she's chosen to go away from home, things between she and her Mom go downhill quickly. Not only is Sydney dealing with her Mom and her grandparents not getting along, she's dealing with how her alcoholic and drug addicted Dad left when she was small, causing her to spiral into depression and anxiety. While spending some time away from home and at her grandparents, she runs into her crush, Grayson Armstrong, whose family is like her Dad's, very wealthy. Grayson is sweet, helpful, and a gifted musician. The only problem, he has a girlfriend. While at her grandparents, Sydney learns that her Dad suffers from schizophrenia and he lives on the streets of NYC and has for years. It's evident her Mom has kept this information from her, which hurts her even more and then she realizes that she has a high chance of developing this illness as well. With the help of her best friend Elliott, she sets off to try to locate her Dad. Will it end in the reunion she's hoping for? Or will everything she's hoped for crash down around her? And, what will come of her feelings for Grayson? This book is though-provoking, sad, realistic and hopeful all at the same time. It's well written and it keeps you engaged as you move through it. I'd highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself! **I voluntarily read an early copy of this title courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

  17. 4 out of 5

    Willow

    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of Between the Bliss and Me. As soon as this book was announced, I was interested. After reading Masons first novel I was waiting for an announcement for her next story, and this didn’t disappoint! This story is able to fit so much into one 300 page book. It covers not only friendship and a budding romance, but rocky family relationships and mental health. Sydney has always wondered about her father. He left when she was young, too Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of Between the Bliss and Me. As soon as this book was announced, I was interested. After reading Masons first novel I was waiting for an announcement for her next story, and this didn’t disappoint! This story is able to fit so much into one 300 page book. It covers not only friendship and a budding romance, but rocky family relationships and mental health. Sydney has always wondered about her father. He left when she was young, too young to have any solid memories of him, causing her to build her version of him in her head. But when she finds out her father didn’t just leave, that he left after a long struggle with schizophrenia and substance abuse, this not only changes what Sydney knew about him, but also causes her to wonder what this could mean for her future. I really appreciate how this story covers anxiety, and the struggle to make the choice of “do I do what I want and hurt someone I love, or do I do what others think will be best knowing I won’t be happy”. The main character Sydney is so easy to relate to. She’s figuring herself out, who she is as a person and who she wants to be, while working through her own mental health journey and the bomb she gets dropped on her about who her father really was and who he is now. Between the Bliss and Me is a great story that covers hard topics, while also having many sweet moments showing friendship, romance, and family relationships. Definitely recommend for anyone who enjoyed Masons first novel, or is looking for a bittersweet journey of finding yourself out.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I just received approval for this title not 2 weeks before the release date, so I changed my plans to read this book sooner. This book is a good story about coping with serious mental illness in your family. While I'm not the target age group, I think the mature subject matter makes this a good book for 16+ year olds. Sydney Holman is 18 years old and just graduated high school. She jus I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I just received approval for this title not 2 weeks before the release date, so I changed my plans to read this book sooner. This book is a good story about coping with serious mental illness in your family. While I'm not the target age group, I think the mature subject matter makes this a good book for 16+ year olds. Sydney Holman is 18 years old and just graduated high school. She just announced she is attending NYU instead of staying home and attending Rutgers in NJ. She is interested in music and is a good singer. Her music education comes from the mix tapes / playlists from her dad Richard, who she doesn't remember since he left when she was 3. Sydney's rich paternal grandparents announce at her graduation dinner that not only are they paying for her college but give her a check for 30 large for school expenses. Syd's mom is a hardworking nurse and the two share a small apartment. They have a Gilmore Girls type relationship. This book may be about Sydney's future, as she finds out her dad has schizophrenia and is living on the streets in the city, but it takes place the summer before she starts college. She meets a guy she crushes on Grayson. She spends time at the shore and sees how the other half live. She looks for her dad in the city. Sydney worries she might get schizophrenia like her dad. While this was an easy to read book in terms of reading level there are difficult topics. TW for verbal abuse and mention of mental illness, addiction. I will say that Sydney was naive about certain things but that's understandable at her age. 3.5/5 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Thanks to Netgalley and Soho Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Between the Bliss and Me is a work of fiction that attempts to bring to light the difficult topic of schizophrenia and the impact of mental illness on families and society. The book follows Sydney Holman in the summer before she goes to college. As her story goes along, she learns that her family has been hiding that her father is not only an addict, but also been battling schizophrenia and is homeless. This revelat Thanks to Netgalley and Soho Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Between the Bliss and Me is a work of fiction that attempts to bring to light the difficult topic of schizophrenia and the impact of mental illness on families and society. The book follows Sydney Holman in the summer before she goes to college. As her story goes along, she learns that her family has been hiding that her father is not only an addict, but also been battling schizophrenia and is homeless. This revelation leads Sydney through several events, including trying to find her father and learning about the implications of his mental illness. I struggled with this book and this review. I finished the book in just over a day, which shows my amount of interest in the story. I really want to applaud this book for presenting the topic of mental illness and schizophrenia, especially to a YA audience. It is incredibly important and needs to continue to be told. I felt that the overall presentation of mental illness, while well done, was often very surface level and at times information was presented like an educational pamphlet. Also, the romance aspect of the book, though sweet at times, did not necessarily help Sydney's likeability as a character, especially with her relentless pursuit of a taken Grayson. Between the Bliss and Me has really great bones, it just could have gone deeper with the plot and emotions of the characters. 3.5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I won a copy of this in a Goodreads Giveaway. Sydney Holman recently turned 18 in April and just graduated from high school. She’s beginning the summer with plans to hang out with her best friend Elliot and his band, work her summer job before heading to NYU, and getting ready for the big move. Not much happens according to plan when she discovers the real reason her absent father has been missing for the past 15 years. This was an interesting, if not in your face, take about mental illness and I won a copy of this in a Goodreads Giveaway. Sydney Holman recently turned 18 in April and just graduated from high school. She’s beginning the summer with plans to hang out with her best friend Elliot and his band, work her summer job before heading to NYU, and getting ready for the big move. Not much happens according to plan when she discovers the real reason her absent father has been missing for the past 15 years. This was an interesting, if not in your face, take about mental illness and the way our society handles it, or ignores it. I appreciated the information included about the way the prison system and hospitals care, or don’t care, for people suffering from a mental illness. In conclusion, I think the author’s main goal in writing this story was to get young people interested in learning about mental illness and figuring out how to improve and change the current system as it clearly needs an overhaul. 3.5 stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gracie (greyreadsbooks)

    I was provided with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 3.5☆ Characters- The characters in this book were extremely stereotypical. There was the girl who's quirky and doesn't get along with many other girls, the gay best friend, the rich, brooding love interest with an asshole father, etc., etc. None of them were inherently bad, but they just weren't original or super interesting in my opinion. Plot- I think books about mental illness are important, both when the main char I was provided with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 3.5☆ Characters- The characters in this book were extremely stereotypical. There was the girl who's quirky and doesn't get along with many other girls, the gay best friend, the rich, brooding love interest with an asshole father, etc., etc. None of them were inherently bad, but they just weren't original or super interesting in my opinion. Plot- I think books about mental illness are important, both when the main character has a mental illness and when someone close to them has one, but I'm not sure if this book represented schizophrenia well. I could not find anything saying the author or someone close to the author struggles with schizophrenia and it always make me wary of a book featuring mental illness when it's not own voices. I did think the main character's struggle with coming to terms with her dad's illness and the possibility she could develop schizophrenia was written well though. Writing- The writing was mediocre at best, nothing really stood out about it. Overall, this book was somewhat enjoyable but filled with tropes and stereotypes and wasn't written well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Delfina

    Mental health, homelessness and class issues are tackled in this book, but despite that, it wasn't very angsty. I quite enjoyed it and finished it in one afternoon. We follow main character Sydney who just graduated high school and is spending a week with her wealthy grandparents after an argument with her mother. Her mom wants her to stay home for college and save money, while Sydney has gone behind her back and plans on going to New York with money from her grandparents. During her stay with h Mental health, homelessness and class issues are tackled in this book, but despite that, it wasn't very angsty. I quite enjoyed it and finished it in one afternoon. We follow main character Sydney who just graduated high school and is spending a week with her wealthy grandparents after an argument with her mother. Her mom wants her to stay home for college and save money, while Sydney has gone behind her back and plans on going to New York with money from her grandparents. During her stay with her grandparents, she finds out that her drug addict father is schizophrenic and becomes worried that she found inherit the illness. She also meets a cute boy and makes a new friend, though the romance is more of a side plot while Sydney discovering herself is the main story here. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this early.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura ( Latteandbooks )

    With this being the first book that I have read by this author it was bittersweet. I think that the author did a great job of dealing with mental illness. Sydney tries to convince her mom that she wants to go to collage at NYU and is upset that she is getting the financial aid from her in laws. Her father left when she was a kid oddly enough when her depression gets bad, she talks to her dad as if he’s an imaginary friend. While she’s in NY she gets a bit of a shock that changed the story and kep With this being the first book that I have read by this author it was bittersweet. I think that the author did a great job of dealing with mental illness. Sydney tries to convince her mom that she wants to go to collage at NYU and is upset that she is getting the financial aid from her in laws. Her father left when she was a kid oddly enough when her depression gets bad, she talks to her dad as if he’s an imaginary friend. While she’s in NY she gets a bit of a shock that changed the story and kept me even more interested than I was already. After she finds out some captivating info she needs to go and see for herself and be able to cope with everything. To see her on her emotional journey I felt like I was there right along with her.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Sydney is just an average girl. Sure, she has a very overprotective mom, but soon, Sydney will be going to NYU and finally living on her own for the first time. For now, she just has to figure out a way to enjoy her summer, especially since her mom isn’t too thrilled about her leaving the nest. Sydney wonders if it may have something to do with her father, who left when she was only three years old. But Sydney isn’t him! How can Sydney prove to her mother that she and her dad are two different p Sydney is just an average girl. Sure, she has a very overprotective mom, but soon, Sydney will be going to NYU and finally living on her own for the first time. For now, she just has to figure out a way to enjoy her summer, especially since her mom isn’t too thrilled about her leaving the nest. Sydney wonders if it may have something to do with her father, who left when she was only three years old. But Sydney isn’t him! How can Sydney prove to her mother that she and her dad are two different people? I received an advanced reading copy of Between the Bliss and Me in exchange for an honest review. To read my full review, visit my blog here: https://stephsstoryspace.wordpress.co...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Received this ARE. Definitely a young adult novel. Sydney needs to convince her mother that she is mature enough to make it on her own at NYU. (on her own means with $30000 in the bank for living expenses and her tuition all paid by her grandparents.) Would you want to know if you possibly will need to deal with a life changing illness in a family member or yourself? Sydney lives with her helicopter mom (or does she have a reason to be a mother hen?) Sydney's naivety and youth attitude will prob Received this ARE. Definitely a young adult novel. Sydney needs to convince her mother that she is mature enough to make it on her own at NYU. (on her own means with $30000 in the bank for living expenses and her tuition all paid by her grandparents.) Would you want to know if you possibly will need to deal with a life changing illness in a family member or yourself? Sydney lives with her helicopter mom (or does she have a reason to be a mother hen?) Sydney's naivety and youth attitude will probably be appreciated by a young adult reading this book. I did appreciate the handling of a mental illness problem that society needs to deal with and we MUST help instead of judging! But, sorry, I just wanted to shake some sense into her and yes, I am many years past young adult.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I love Lizzy's writing and this book was a wonderful sophomore novel. The rollercoaster that the main character Sydney went on, had to be difficult. At one moment she's accepted to her dream school of NYU and the next she learns that her father is mentally ill and homeless. The way Lizzy wrote about mental illness was touching, raw, and emotional. I appreciate how she writes/deals with these "taboo" subjects with such finesse. I think the weaving in of friendships and romance was well done. I al I love Lizzy's writing and this book was a wonderful sophomore novel. The rollercoaster that the main character Sydney went on, had to be difficult. At one moment she's accepted to her dream school of NYU and the next she learns that her father is mentally ill and homeless. The way Lizzy wrote about mental illness was touching, raw, and emotional. I appreciate how she writes/deals with these "taboo" subjects with such finesse. I think the weaving in of friendships and romance was well done. I also enjoyed "watching" Sydney figure herself out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    This book started in one place and ended in a very different place and I am still not sure how I feel about it. I liked the struggle the main character had with schizophrenia and her possible diagnosis, I even liked her romance with the band member. I felt the lawyers speech about her dad's situation to be very forced (even though I liked the lawyer) and I felt the main character's attitude toward money and her reactions to certain situations to be very hypocritical. This book started in one place and ended in a very different place and I am still not sure how I feel about it. I liked the struggle the main character had with schizophrenia and her possible diagnosis, I even liked her romance with the band member. I felt the lawyers speech about her dad's situation to be very forced (even though I liked the lawyer) and I felt the main character's attitude toward money and her reactions to certain situations to be very hypocritical.

  28. 4 out of 5

    kglibrarian (Karin Greenberg)

    A moving story about a teenage girl dealing with her recent discovery that her absent father suffers from schizophrenia. An important book highlighting mental illness. **Full review to come in a future issue of School Library Journal.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caroline David

    This book is a pretty slow burn and at times, I felt like I didn't really want to finish it but I am glad I did. I think it highlights a lot about mental health and for that, I am greatly appreciative of the work. This book is a pretty slow burn and at times, I felt like I didn't really want to finish it but I am glad I did. I think it highlights a lot about mental health and for that, I am greatly appreciative of the work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mallory Wassberg

    I thought this book did a great job of shining some light on mental health issues. It would be great for a younger audience (high school) to get the conversation started on mental health issues and the stigma around them.

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