It's Kind of a Funny Story

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.

It is always amazing when you read a book by a known author and it is entirely different in tone and writing from their previous book.  Vizzini, author of Be More Chill, a sparkling teen book on being cool, reaches a new depth in this novel. 

Craig works very hard to get into the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, but once he succeeds he becomes more and more depressed, until he is barely getting out of bed and spends his days with his best friend smoking pot.  One night when his depression gets to be too much for him and he seriously contemplates suicide, Craig calls the suicide hotline and is told to go to the hospital.  It is there in the mental hospital that Craig learns about what he really wants and needs. 

Taking clinical depression and making it kind of funny, this book is a marvel.   Vizzini succeeds in making Craig a complicated protagonist who can be related to by all readers.  Add to that a non-stereotypical supportive family as well as vivid mental patients and you have a real world for the reader to be part of.  Craig is witty and sarcastic.  He is so well written that seeing the world through his eyes is large part of the joy of the story. 

Recommend this book to teens looking for something a little dark.  They will find that books about depression do not need to be tragedies.  Teens who enjoy humor will also find a great read here. 

SLJ and OST

School Library Journal has an interesting article about OST, out-of-school time, which is a school term that directly asks places like public libraries to offer quality programs for children outside of school.  I like that the emphasis is on providing fun for school-aged children.  Many public libraries are already doing this sort of programming.  In fact, I did exactly this sort of thing years ago in the first public library I worked in.  Quality time and programming for latchkey children.