When I first saw the author’s name on this book, I thought, “There is no way it’s the same Michael Thomas Ford.” I have known about Michael Thomas Ford’s (very) adult works for years, but I didn’t think he would ever write a young adult novel. He has, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed.
Suicide Notes is narrated by Jeff, who we soon find out is narrating from the psychiatric ward of a local hospital. As far as Jeff is concerned he’s fine, just fine, despite the bandages from where he tried to slit his wrists. Obviously, Jeff is not fine, but he’s also quite reluctant to talk about or even acknowledge the events that landed him in the hospital in the first place. He’s much more interested in telling the reader about his fellow patients and their day-to-day dramas. The hospital’s tough yet sympathetic psychiatrist, Dr. K., isn’t as willing to let Jeff ignore the course of events that drove him to suicide; before Jeff can go home he will have to face a part of himself he’s buried and denied. Jeff is ready to keep denying everything until some late-night encounters with another patient make him see that he can’t, not unless he wants to be suicidal forever.
Jeff’s narrative is both funny and heartbreaking. Although Jeff is close to his sister, his parents’ ignorance of Jeff’s problems will make the reader feel bad for him and wonder how love can be so ignorant. The content here is most definitely for older teens, showcasing Ford’s experience and talent in writing erotica. The start of this book is a little slow, but readers who stick with Jeff will find themselves rooting for him, wanting him to get better, face up to his problems, and move back into his life. It’s a good next-read for those who liked Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern.