❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ Fifteen-year-old Craig gets into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School and faces incredible levels of stress during his first year. It becomes so unbearable that he contemplates committing suicide but checks himself into a mental institution. While there he meets many others attempting to work through their issues and he begins to examine the source of his own anxiety. The author, Ned Vizzini, actually spent some time in a psychiatric facility as a young man and the authenticity and emotion behind the words on the page are palpable. The majority of the story takes place at the hospital and the characters Craig encounters are all fully formed and realistic. It offers the opportunity to get into the Craig's head, and other patients through the brain maps he creates (which I expect are much cooler than the one on the cover). It's jarring to listen to the story while knowing the fate of the author before reading this remarkable novel.