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Are we all lemmings and snowflakes?

Holly Bourne

Are we all lemmings and snowflakes?


Are we all lemmings and snowflakes? is a Young Adult novel written by Holly Bourne. It is rare for a modern novel to centre its main character on someone who has bipolar disorder. For that character to be written as a realistic and wholly believable teenager is a credit to Holly Bourne.

Olive experiences the symptoms of hypomania and depression but does not want to know what her condition is. After a family incident, she is offered the chance to spend a month at Camp Reset – the country’s first teen residential centre for brain wellness. There, she meets a number of other teenagers with mental health issues.

At the camp, the reader witnesses Olive’s and her friends’ journeys as they battle to accept and manage their conditions. During her stay, Olive questions whether it is the world that needs fixing, and not them and comes up with a daring plan that is based on kindness.

Are we all lemmings and snowflakes? is well written and makes you care for Olive and her friends. One of my favourite characters is Lewis, a kind and shy teenage boy who is a huge support to Olive. Indeed, the novel is packed with lovely and relatable teenagers who are battling their mental health issues and trying to survive in a world that can be a harsh and frightening environment.

Within the novel, there is also useful information outlining mental illness risk factors and the strategies that can be used to help sufferers ‘stay sane’, such as connecting with other human beings, being active, learning new skills and getting enough sleep. It is also an advocate of being kind to yourself, as well as to others. This is a valuable book that all readers, whether they are teenagers or older, can take heart from.

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Copies in our library:

Bipolar Edinburgh maintains a small library of books, CDs and DVDs. To borrow from the library you need to have attended at least two group meetings and registered your contact information with the group facilitators. We normally allow people to borrow items for two months, but please bring them back earlier if possible.

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