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Best YA of 2013: 'Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets' by Evan Roskos

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'Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets' by Evan Roskos


This review is part of a recap of this reviewer's picks for the Best YA Books of 2013.

If Stephen Chbosky were to ever write a sequel to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I imagine it would look a lot like Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by debut author Evan Roskos. A heartbreaking coming of age story about one teen’s struggle with depression, anxiety, and the mysteries surrounding his sister’s expulsion, Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets will surely develop the same cult following that Perks established.

Balancing humor with angst, Roskos has crafted a truly brilliant novel about one teen’s extraordinary struggles. With a cast of fully realized characters with their own flaws, Roskos zeroes in on James — with his love of Walt Whitman, his crippling anxiety attacks, and his penchant for talking to an imaginary pigeon therapist.

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets is the kind of novel that will change young lives. Readers will cling to this book, its characters, and the underlying message that you can be okay — if you’re strong enough to fight for it. (Even if fighting for it means asking for help.)

Beautifully written, this aching and charming story will stick with you long after finishing the last page. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets is destined to become a classic for years and years to come.

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets is in stores now. Here is the official synopsis:

“I hate myself but I love Walt Whitman, the kook. Always positive. I need to be more positive, so I wake myself up every morning with a song of myself.”

Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à la Whitman) at his abusive father ever since he kicked his beloved older sister, Jorie, out of the house. James’s painful struggle with anxiety and depression—along with his ongoing quest to understand what led to his self-destructive sister’s exile—make for a heart-rending read, but his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the world and keen sense of humor keep this emotionally charged debut novel buoyant.


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