I deserve to be locked up for how long it has taken me to write this review – especially considering that Lydia recommended me as a reviewer… but, now that I am reviewing it, can I just say how phenomenal this story is!! With some similar themes to Lydia’s first book The Taste of Blue Light, Colour Me In is a YA book focused on male mental health that blew. my. mind.
I received this book from Hodder in return for an honest review.
This book contains discussions of mental health issues such as depression & feelings of suicide throughout,
as well as scenes of a sexual nature.
As expected Colour Me In is 100% it’s main character – I was immediately & completely sucked into Arlo’s head & his depression was tangible from the first few pages. This is a story that makes you feel full; full of grief, sadness, contentment, love, wonder & empathy – it’s raw & breaks down your barriers as a reader, but it’s also a beautiful love story full of support & genuine feeling… but, most importantly it doesn’t include any of that gross love cures all trope, which I adore Lydia for.
Goodness gracious guys! This book! How do I even review something like this? I knew this book would be good, but it surprised me with how much it matched up to The Taste of Blue Light… the stories differ hugely but both break you & put you back together again in the most elegant of ways & Lydia is just wonderful! Can I end this review now? Have I sold the book to you? Are you convinced? Please tell me you are because I don’t know how to write this review!!!!!!!!
Okay okay, I’ve pulled myself together… I think. Lets start with men’s mental health as that is the absolute centre of this book… men’s mental health is something that is being spoken about more & more, & books like this will make a difference to young men who are struggling… hell! it helped me feel less alone in my depression. Lydia has tackled such a relevant but difficult topic by focusing on a young adult male that feels like he’s falling apart & in my opinion she portrayed it really well. Arlo feels so real & all I wanted to do was see him heal himself; to see him realise that he’s wonderful & deserves to be loved.
Speaking of which – this story did kinda’ turn out to be a love story; & we all know, Lucy doesn’t like love stories (in my head I said that like Joey says “Joey doesn’t share food”) BUT! And it’s a good but, this is a good love story. It’s not mushy or gooey or gross – it’s r e a l & made me feel stuff that I normally don’t feel when reading a love story. In-fact, it’s my favourite love story. There, I said it – I now have a favourite love story. But, why is it your favourite love story? I hear you ask – because Arlo & Mizuki help each other… they care for each other… their feelings are genuine & raw & feel so real!! But most importantly – Arlo & Mizuki support each other, they don’t fix each other. Books that involve a love interest curing someone of their mental illness make me scream & because Colour Me In was categorically not that way, it made me sob my dark lil’ heart out. ALSO! This book contains the most beautiful sex scene I have ever read. The end.
I can’t finish this review without begging the universe to convince Lydia to write a spin-off about Mizuki – because she was fantastic as well & I adored her. She had her own story in this book & wasn’t just made to fit into Arlo’s travelling – you can really believe that she was in Japan for her own reasons, that her own story took her there, & that her & Arlo meeting was just some random thing that turned out to be something wonderful.
So I’ve not outlined the plot of this book for you at all, & this review if definitely the messiest review I have ever written but if you do one thing today, order this book or request it from your library… because it’s wonderful & everything I could ever want in a book that focuses on mental health. Thank you Lydia. Thank you for writing a character that was depressed before something awful happened & stayed depressed even after he fell in love. Thank you for writing the way you do & thank you for recommending me as a reviewer; it means more than words can say.
This post contains affiliate links.