It's always fun when a publisher sends me a book for review that I've heard nothing about. It's kind of nice sometimes, walking into a book without any previous knowledge like I did with Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors. Refreshing.
Mad Love is an interesting story. I was really intrigued to see how the mental illness of Alice's mother would play into the story. And while that is the backdrop of the story, there's still enough around it to make the story fun and light-hearted, while at the same time bringing into the story how much her mother's illness has affected Alice.
16 year old Alice Amorous has a lot on at the moment - she's trying to take care of all the things around the house and paying bills and keeping herself busy so that she doesn't think too much about the fact that her mother has been sent to a mental health institution and she's mostly on her own. She's also been signing autographs and putting off her mother's publisher who are after Alice to forward her mother's latest romance novel. Alice has no idea how or what she can do in order to pull her way out of this mess unless Alice miraculously writes her own romance novel in place of her mother?
When Alice meets a strange boy, Errol, at one of her mother's author events, he tells Alice that he is in fact Cupid and would like Alice's help to write down his tragic love story with Psyche. Is Alice going mad? Or is Errol really who he says he is? I had so much fun reading Mad Love and finding out those answers for myself!
I do wish there would have been just a bit more in the story about Alice attempting to write a romance novel as I do so much love books about writing books! But this is still interesting enough, with poor Alice taking on more responsibilities than any teenager should really have to shoulder. I felt for her, poor thing, but she really kept it together and showed real strength during this trying time for her family. I found her feelings towards her mother's mental illness to be quite sad but also quite realistic.
I really enjoyed reading of Alice's interactions with Errol and to see her slow acceptance of who he is. There's also a really nice eye-opening bit where Alice is able to put aside her preconcieved notions of an annoying neighbour and delve a little deeper. But of course, being a not-so-secret romantic is the utterly sweet beginnings of a relationship between Alice and the skate-boarding boy that she has such a crush on that she sets a timer every day in order to watch him walk past her window.
This book is really quite sweet and a little sad and very easy to read. Love and mental illness is quite an unusual pairing, but I think it really works. I would certainly look out for other books by Suzanne Selfors after reading and enjoying Mad Love!