Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught
"When Jason Milwaukee's best friend Sunshine vanishes, Jason knows that something is terribly wrong, but solving her disappearance will require pushing through all the voices in his head and then getting the world to listen to him. His schizophrenia is stopping him from remembering the events leading up to her disappearance, and often he discounts his own memories, and his own impressions. But his deep knowledge that he would never hurt his friend, plus the faith of his parents and a few others in the town bring him to the point of solving the mystery. In the end, it's Sunshine's own love for Jason (Freak) that persuades him of his own strength and goodness."- summary from Amazon
This was such a good book. I wish I had had more time to just sit and read it straight through instead of reading it over several days. I did read big chunks at a time, but I always hated having to put it down and return to real life.
I really liked how Vaught handled the mental illness aspect of the characters. It's handled with respect but isn't too cautious with it; there are instances of humor, like with Jason's friend Drip calling him Freak but not in a bad way or the three friends' calling each other "alphabets" because of their respective diagnoses (OCD, ADHD, etc.). Basically, it's done realistically and I enjoyed that.
The prose is almost stream-of-consciousness for the most part, I felt, and that made for quickly turning pages. As a reader, I was sucked in by that voice and just fell into this world.
The mystery was handled well too and I enjoyed all the twists and turns that got us to the surprise (for me) ending. I didn't see that coming.
Overall, it's such an interesting book and I'm really curious to read Vaught's previous novel Going Underground now, which is actually in my TBR pile. Definitely check this book out; it's a wonderful read.
FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.