Book Review: The Places I’ve Cried In Public by Holly Bourne

“You never know if happy memories are going to become sad ones. They glow and shine in the vast realms of our subconscious, making that part of our brain feel like it’s filled with glitter. We pick them up and cradle them like expensive cats, or wriggle into them like they are jumpers we’ve left to warm on a radiator. Until the day when, for one reason or another, life can suddenly make this happy memory into a sad memory instead. Good memories exist in the naivety of not knowing any better.”

Published in 2019, The Places I’ve Cried In Public by Holly Bourne follows teenager Amelie. She loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

Rating:

A beautifully written contemporary story, The Places I’ve Cried In Public tackles difficult subjects with an engaging lead character, a touch of humour, and a relatable story centred around the overwhelming emotions we all felt at this age.

I absolutely loved the first half of this book as I felt so much nostalgia reading Amelie’s story, remembering the days when our emotions ran so high that every feeling felt like the whole world was shaking.

Amelie is heartbroken and feeling lonely with all the changes going on around her, and her narrative felt like something straight out of my teenage diary. Of course, I can look back now and realise that many of these moments were insignificant, but what Bourne makes you see is that not everything is so meaningless just because you are young and that it’s important to seek support if ever you need it.

Although it’s a young adult story, Bourne doesn’t sugarcoat the seriousness of the issues that she tackles, and instead explores them in a way that younger readers will be more likely to relate to. For me, as an older reader, I thought that the issues felt a little forced in the second half, but that’s probably because the story is intended for a younger audience and they are, therefore, handled in a more uncomplicated manner.

However, I do admire what Bourne’s story is doing by highlighting how situations like this one aren’t as straightforward as you often consider them in your own head. And what this book will do for its young readers regarding its issues of abuse, sexual assault, and mental illness is definitely worth a lot of praise.

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