Lola lives with her depressed older brother and her alcoholic mother. Lola takes care of her mother and brother, and wants to prevent her older brother Seb from killing himself. At school a fire has put all the kids out into gazebos, and the time that follows could shape Lola’s life forever.
This was a torturous book to read. For a very slim book that could have taken an hour or so to zoom through, it took me literally months to get to the end. The writing style left me wondering why there were so many words used to describe simple situations. Too many things are spelled out and the passive voice of Lola is irritating and wishy-washy. The book seems as if it has come out of the author’s head in one piece, and then hasn’t been checked for its ability to connect with a reader.
The blurb tells me that Lola will tackle the hardest decision she’s ever made, but no, no she doesn’t. Her decisions mainly seem to include forgiving people for being downright rude and racist. Her decisions regarding Seb aren’t even decisions. That ending was horrible. I’m happy to have a ‘sad’ ending, rather than a ‘happily ever after ending’, but at least make it reasonable. Do you really want people to go out there and kill themselves? Because this novel makes it seem like a viable option.
There’s triggering references to self harm, and also depictions of suicide, so take care of yourself. I don’t recommend this novel anyway. A good novel about mental illness (such as ‘A Way Out’ or ‘Fierce Fragile Hearts‘) will make you feel the way the character does if you’ve ever felt alone and give you a #itgetsbetter feeling. The Gazebo on the other hand didn’t make a connection with me at all.
I feel terrible for hating this novel because the author seems like a really nice person! I think with more practice and a steady editor Emily McGlashan could be a name to look out for in YA mental health literature. Until then, I’d leave The Gazebo as unreadable – don’t risk reading it.