Dear Diary - no too cliche.
Dear Journal - no too formal.
Dear mystery person who will never read this - no, no.
Dear Stephanie ... hmmm. Dear Stephanie, I had a shit day. Dear Stephanie, I just had the most amazing sex. Dear Stephanie, I want to drown in my bathtub. Okay, Dear Stephanie it is. Here goes nothing.
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading Dear Stephanie by Mandi Castle. The story opens with a prologue featuring a suicide attempt. Then we get to know the main character, Paige Preston, in the first chapter. And I didn't like her.
Seriously she is a stuck-up, rich girl. A real *itch. And I really didn't think I was going to be able to get through this book listening to her whine about her fancy clothes and expensive partying. But then we get a glimpse beneath the plastic facade to the very troubled woman. And I was hooked.
Dear Stephanie was a very emotional story. The story telling method of diary entries was perfect. Even though the partying and other activities may not be something everyone can afford (Paige is seriously rich. She doesn't work but has the best of everything), the emotions and thoughts Paige has is something a lot of people can relate to.
The story wasn't emotional just because it featured a seriously depressed suicidal person, but because it is a "don't judge a book by its cover" kind of story. It would be so easy to look at Paige and ask yourself "what does she have to be depressed about?" But we get a look behind the facade and she the hurt little girl who was all but abandoned by her parents. It reminds us that we don't know what anyone else is going through.
I loved the secondary characters of Blake and Dr. Morea (aka D-Love). I was so happy for Paige that she finally had a psychiatrist that actually wanted to help her and not just take her money and hand out "fun" meds. Then there is B-Large (Paige likes nicknames), her hot neighbor who accepts Paige just as she is.
From the ending I wonder if there are plans to return to the world of Paige Preston. While many things are wrapped up, there is a bit of a what now feeling with the way it ends. I want to be sure Paige gets a happily ever after. There was a good deal of grief in Dear Stephanie and I want to know that there is happiness and good things for Paige.
Overall, Dear Stephanie by Mandi Castle was a great read. The characters and the plot are realistic and heart wrenching. While there are some happy times, this is not a fluffy read by any means.
Buy Dear Stephanie at Amazon
available formats: ebook and print (290 pages)
published: May 2015 by Castle Press
genres: literary fiction, pychological
read: October/November 2015
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