TITLE: What We Deserve
BY: Alyssa Nohar
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary
NOTE: I received an e-copy from the author but my opinions are my own.
What We Deserve is about Amaya, who is a bisexual, fijian and has just been diagnosed with social generalized anxiety disorder after years of suffering in silence. After her high school graduation, she plans on spending her summer in peace and just enjoy herself. That is until her sister signs her up for a summer internship, forcing Amaya to work alongside 4 other recent high school graduates. Her summer just becomes a challenge she has to endure.
The main charm of What We Deserve lies in its honest take on the subject it’s tackling, which is Amaya’s mental health. It seems so genuine, the way Amaya deals with her thoughts, emotions and the people around her is so relatable for someone like me who suffers the same. Though mine is milder than Amaya, the point is the same – the author knows what she’s writing about.
Another thing is, this book manages to be mild while dealing with a difficult issue. That’s not an easy feat. Most books end up being heartbreaking, this book is heartwarming instead and that makes me happy more than anything. And I think it’s because of the likable characters.
I seriously love Amaya and I was cheering for her throughout the book. I know how hard it is for her to live her daily life. And I was happy for her everytime she overcomes her anxiety, everytime she wins little battles everyday. I also love her will despite everything.
Amaya’s relationship with the other four is great too. I loved the development of the friendship between them. It’s so realistic and no toxic elements. It’s also really nice to see their interactions in the office. There are banters too. I really liked Fai, Gen, Kaidan and Jev. Speaking of these four and Amaya herself, the diversity in this book is strong. I love how the author manages to create such diversed group of young adults.
Though I would’ve loved to know about the side characters more than I was given. Sure, there were moments in the book I got to peek a little to their lives but I wanted to see more, especially in the aspects of their own diversities. Amaya and her four new friends are literally from five different races and it would’ve been nice to see more of their experiences in regards to each of their races. I was hoping to know more about their cultures.
Even though, most of the scenes are in the office, I do think there’s so little of their work is shown. We’re just told their working and they do this and do that, but I kind of want more details than I was told. But as a setting, as I already said, I loved seeing Amaya and her friends interact with each other.
Finally, the narrative. This is just small issue but I found the narrative a bit mediocre. I’m not sure if the author did this on purpose but at times, I feel like reading someone’s memoir or biography, but since it isn’t in a first person POV, it’s a biography told by someone else. I really can’t explain this. You’ll have to see it for yourself.
RATING: 3.5 blissful pages with lilies
Like I said, the narrative and my request to see more about their job and the cultures of the diversed characters were just small issues of mine, so if you’re looking for a mild mental health story that features a diverse and likable set of characters, then What We Deserve is for you. I really enjoyed this one.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.