Review: Finding Balance by Amanda April Walsh

I am always leery of books that use mental health as a metaphor within fantasy, but this one is done really well. Finding Balance is a story about a girl who is kept very isolated by her parents due to headaches and delusions, which turn out to connect her to a destiny behind the ordinary.

Here’s what I liked: Devika, the heroine, is really likeable. She feels very much like an ordinary teenaged girl, thinking about boys, trying to rebel against her parents, but she’s also clearly a kind and genuine person who wants to do the right thing and isn’t quite sure how. I really enjoyed the time I spent with her in this book, and I really empathized with her. I also admire the way her mental health concerns were presented, particularly the shame and stigma she feels.

Her relationship with both her best friend and her boyfriend were great. I even liked her parents, even though they were overbearing to the point of abusiveness. They still seemed like believable characters.

The depiction of everyday high school life. Devika’s day-to-day felt so real. It’s not the overblown drama we’re used to seeing in high school movies and shows. It’s just an ordinary high school, with ordinary things happening in it (except for the things that happen to Devika, of course!)

The one thing I would really have liked more of is fantasy! This book is billed as fantasy, but it really reads more like thriller. The magic barely makes an appearance, and the primary plot is about crime, not about magic. I hope this will be developed more in future books, and I look forward to seeing where the story goes.


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