Friday, May 11, 2018

Fallout Girl (Hollywood Lights #5)

38205327The day she buries her mother, Miranda George jumps on a plane from North Carolina, telling no one where she’s heading. She wants to disappear and start over. She arrives on the Los Angeles doorstep of college friend Daphne Saito, and even though Miranda hasn’t seen Daphne in years, Daphne welcomes Miranda into her home and her makeshift L.A. family.

The problem is, Miranda is on the run from family. All family. Family, in Miranda’s experience, can get you killed.

Miranda takes off again, but this time her plan is much more sinister. She certainly doesn’t expect her friends to track her down. When they bring her back from the edge, the question remains: will Miranda be able to save herself and her newfound friendships? Or will she remain strangled by the past?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Fallout Girl, by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, introduces a strong female lead who suffers from a mental illness to the series and to the group of Hollywood friends. Miranda George was raised by a mother suffering from bipolar disorder and is now aware that she, too, has the mental illness. With firsthand experience from trying to care for her mother, Miranda is determined to stop her illness from hurting anyone she cares about, but that doesn't include herself. 

Miranda is portrayed as a blunt, brutally honest, and incredibly intelligent young woman. However, her bipolar disorder also makes her reckless, overly adventurous, and prone to push people away. When she arrived in L.A., Miranda thought she was escaping to an old college acquaintance who wouldn't care enough to try to save her. Luckily, she was way off base. Miranda, instead, finds a group of people who are caring, loyal, and willing to accept her as a friend. Through these personality traits and the events of the book, readers will, without a doubt, connect with Miranda. Though her mental illness isn't discussed at length, the author demonstrates the symptoms through Miranda's actions. This gives readers an in-depth, realistic look at bipolar disorder and how it can affect those who have it. Readers will not only understand why Miranda is acting the way she is, they'll witness moments when her mental illness takes over. With that kind of openness, readers will form a strong bond with Miranda and want her to heal as the book continues. 

The plot of the novel begins after Miranda has already arrived in L.A., where the series takes place. Miranda is determined to escape her mental illness using drugs, danger, and sex while she forms a plan to take her own life. Yet, the people she meets while crashing at Daphne's apartment (an old acquaintance from college) begin to care about Miranda and notice that something is happening to her. With good intentions and help from Miranda's brother, the group tries to help Miranda accept her mental illness and move toward a life that allows her to control it. 

Though Fallout Girl has a very serious storyline, it is an incredibly entertaining and interesting book. The mental illness aspect is represented as realistically as it can be while still allowing the book to have an enjoyable air. There is a romantic aspect of the book that will also have readers cheering for Miranda, even though her destructive nature threatens her chance at a relationship multiple times. With various layers of interaction, shifting point of views, and serious undertones, Fallout Girl is a book that seriously represents living with bipolar disorder and presenting friendships that grow and evolve with the people who are a part of them. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

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