Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu
PUBLISHED BY HARLEQUIN
REVIEW BY KRIS WILLIAMS
I liked this book very much – I have to admit to shedding a few tears! Essentially, it's about five young adults with various mental health issues who are sent to Camp Ugunduzi to take part in a four-week experimental therapy wilderness camp.
Clarissa has OCD. She wants to get better but wishes her Mum would stop asking her if she is OK. Andrew suffers from anorexia. He knows he has to do something about his weight but thinks he is OK– after all, the lead singer of a band has to have a certain look! He just wants to get back to his band.
Ben has a dissociative personality. For him, everything is a movie and this is where he would rather live than deal with real life. Mason is a narcissist who believes everyone else is an idiot, and only agreed to go to camp to satisfy his parents. And finally, Stella – who is back for a second time – is depressed and has anger management issues. She is also very outspoken and hates the world.
Interestingly, the book is told from the point of view of each of the teenagers. This allows the reader to get to know them as they slowly reveal something about themselves, their issues and their feelings. I liked the almost natural way it allowed you to learn more about each character as they came to know each other and themselves during their time at camp.
As they get to know each other, they form bonds they didn’t ever think they would and actually discover new things about themselves. There is a little bit of romance; but there are fights, so not all is smooth sailing. When something happens that affects them all, they learn to lean on each other to get through it.
If you're expecting a book that focuses on the therapy and everyone getting better after four weeks, then this book isn’t for you. It's a book about forming bonds and discovering it is OK to have feelings.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.