Review: The Museum of Us – Tara Wilson Redd
by Tara Wilson Redd
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.
Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.
When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.
Trigger warnings: depression, cutting, suicidal ideation
Everyone remembers daydreaming about their favorite shows or books, inserting themselves into the narrative and becoming an adventurer or spy or princess or Hogwarts student. As we get older, though, slowly the real world supersedes our daydreams. But what if we decided to never leave?
“The whole world started with George.”
We first meet Sadie in the aftermath of a car accident. It soon becomes clear that it’s not her physical injuries that are keeping her in the hospital, but what led to the crash, and who this mysterious George that she called out for is. The problem is – George isn’t real. He’s her partner in all her imaginary adventures, her first love, her true best friend. Now he’s in danger of being exposed to the outside world, and Sadie’s afraid that will cause her to lose him forever and force her to live in the real world. From the outside, Sadie has a near perfect life, even though most people consider her a bit strange since she has a tendency to get lost in her thoughts. She’s co-captain of her high school’s track team with her best friend, has a rock band boyfriend and has two loving and supportive parents. Over the course of her two weeks in the hospital, though, through flashbacks and her interactions with her friends and family, Sadie’s past is slowly revealed through bits and pieces, from her past adventures with George to the trauma that led her to retreat into her own mind.
“The second you uncap a pen, you’ve already lost. Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out. I know better than to write the truth in a journal. Your mind is the only vault you can trust.
But can you even trust that?”
I think the mental health discussion was handled well. It didn’t feel too preachy or too voyeur-like, but, like the rest of the book, was raw and honest. I especially liked that at the end it was ultimately Sadie’s choice to let go of her inner world and it’s her actions that save her, not some magic pill or love interest. The book itself is haunting and heartbreaking, and like Sadie’s friends and parents, I felt both frustrated with and supportive of Sadie. I thought she was a very relatable character, and as bits of her life were revealed to use, I sympathized with why she’d want to keep her fantasies.
Overall, I enjoyed this book very much, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a young adult book that deals with mental illness and fantasy!