Author: Rune Michaels
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (December 6, 2011)
Source: ATW Arc Tours
Orphaned as a child, terrorized by her abusive brother, and haunted by memories, Leia feels exposed, powerless, and vulnerable. When her tormented mind can stand it no longer, she escapes to the zoo, where she finds shelter and seeks refuge. The zoo is a sanctuary: a protective space for families, and a safe place for the traumatized to forget. But can she ever feel safe? Can she ever forget?
Once again, Rune Michaels brings us a harrowing psychological drama that raises questions about the very nature of humanity. This chilling tale will challenge our preconceptions of family, memory, and self, leaving readers wondering, are we the pinnacle of evolution—or are we just animals on display?
Fix Me by Rune Michaels is an "issues" book. I like these kinds of books, though I don't read them all the time. I like them because they often represent an issue that many teens face in a realistic manner, while providing hope. I can imagine young people who go through these issues finding comfort in reading a book about whatever it is they are dealing with, letting them know they are not alone.
The complication with Fix Me is that it is not about an singular issue. While this is definitely not a problem (who doesn't like complex storytelling?), it did make the story slightly unfocused. I never did completely grasp what had happened to the narrator. I have an idea of what happened, but it wasn't spelled out. Maybe it didn't need to be, but I have a tendency to like to know exactly what I'm dealing with. That could just be the therapist in me. ;)
For this and other reasons, I left Fix Me wanting more. I got a lot of information, but not quite enough. A lot of resolution, but I needed a little more. Great insight, but it could've gone further. More, more, more! I think that would have made Fix Me a better story for me.
The other irritation I had with Fix Me was the nameless narrator. Now, I understand why this was done. Without a name or specific description, the reader can easily imagine herself as the character. However, I'm not a fan of this technique. I like names. Really. I like knowing who my character is and I don't often picture myself as the main character. If anything, I picture myself in the main character's situation, but I never picture me as the main character (am I weird?).
Other than that, this was a pretty good read. I would say enjoyable, but that doesn't seem to be the appropriate word for an issues book. It was nice and short, so you can easily read it in one sitting. This works well for staying in the main character's head.
I also really liked the interaction of the main character and the animals. Animals can be very therapeutic, so her pull towards them made perfect sense to me. There were many psychological aspects to this novel that I felt were spot on. Kudos to Rune Michaels.
If you're not a fan of issues novels, I don't think you'll like this. If you are, it's worth the read.
Final thoughts: Borrow it.