Simply Put: Why YA Lit Matters

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – 5/5 


[There is a trigger warning for suicide in this book/review]

Yahoo! My first 5/5 read of 2015 and this book is truly deserving of that rating!! I am still in awe and shock of what this book put me through emotionally. Everyone must read this book and like the title of this blog post suggests..this book is another real reminder of why YA lit matters.

Ok – synopsis. So I can’t say it any better than Matthew Quick has, so I’m going to insert what was written on the inside flap of the book and what drew me in immediately to read it:

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.”

I mean…come on! If this doesn’t pull you in, I don’t know what will. The book boils down to our main protagonist, Leonard Peacock, who is setting out to kill his former best friend and then himself. The book follows Leonard on his last day, as we try to understand what might be going on in his head and what brought him to this decision. This book addresses so many hard and heart-hitting issues, such as suicide, sexuality, abuse and the daily struggle of recovery. I was moved in so many ways, so let me tell you all the ways that I loved this book.

First of all, the characters! Matthew Quick did a masterful job creating a main protagonist that you quickly fall in love with and want to help save. I spent the entire book relating to Leonard Peacock, wanting to reach into the story and tell him that he matters. I believe that Leonard can be relatable to any young person trying to figure out who they are amidst the sometimes scary real-life experiences that they are facing. Leonard also shows the real need to surround yourself with good people; people who bring out the best in you, people who care deeply for you and people who are going to actively show you those things day in and day out.

Secondly, the writing style. Matthew Quick integrated these letters from people in Leonard’s future. In all honesty, at first –  I was a little thrown by the first two letters. I was confused and there wasn’t a whole ton of set up. But, when Leonard’s present-day teacher tells him that writing these types of letters can help give him more hope, I was filled with so many feelings – I am impressed that I was able to control my tears. It was a beautiful twist and I was blown away by how deeply the letters from the future impacted me. I almost want to do the same thing – just as a good exercise to start re-evaluating my values and what I want my future life to look like.

Lastly, I cannot stress enough how incredibly relevant and necessary a book like this is to be written and to read. I am incredibly thankful that this book is a YA lit book because it speaks to real things and real circumstances that can impact someone at any age. But, for a younger person – these issues can and do feel like the end of the world. If there is no one to talk to or no example for these young people to strive for, then what else can they do? They find themselves in Leonard’s situation, where they feel that suicide might be the only way out. It’s not – and that is why this book is so beautiful and necessary.

So, thank you Matthew Quick! 🙂 Thank you for writing an incredible book that warmed my heart, touched my soul and rekindled my own hope for my future. And for the rest of you…put down whatever book you’re reading right now and READ THIS!! 🙂

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