I recently read a book that said “mental health is a luxury” and it really hit home. It is a luxury to think about your mental health, to even talk about it sometimes. So when I found a book that was primarily about mental health? I snapped it up immediately and boy, I was not prepared for the ride I was about to take. But let me make one thing clear...everyone needs to go pick up Genevieve Wheeler’s brilliant debut novel Adelaide right now.
American Adelaide Williams has fallen madly in love with Englishman Rory Hughes. Is he the most emotionally available partner you could ask for? No. But when he does give Adelaide the time of day, the world rights itself and everything feels a little bit brighter. But when Rory gets news of a terrible tragedy, Adelaide does everything she can to hold him together - even if it means she loses a part of herself in the process.
Reading this book felt like watching the story of my own mental health journey unfold. Though I can’t say that I went through exactly the same things that Adelaide did, I saw myself in her in a way that I have never seen in any other character. She felt incredibly raw and real and relatable.
It’s impossible to wrap my head around the fact that this is Genevieve’s first book. The writing is beautiful and she is unashamed to tackle themes of grief and mental health without a filter. Though I definitely have a lot of work to do on my own mental health, this book felt like it helped heal just a little part of myself.
The story jumps around in time a bit which made it hard to follow in the beginning, but once I figured out what she was doing, it felt like such a perfect way to tell the story. The way in which Genevieve writes her characters made it feel less like a work of fiction and more like I was reading a memoir. Every single one of these characters felt like a real person who I could have a real conversation with.
This story left me feeling raw and exposed, but also seen and understood. An incredibly strong debut novel that has me anxiously awaiting the next. Genevieve Wheeler is one to watch and I am so glad I get to witness her brilliance from the very beginning.
Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler hits shelves April 18, 2023 and you can preorder a copy here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!