Title: Definitions of Indefinable Things
Author: Whitney Taylor
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Release date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Thank you to NetGalley and HMH Books For Young Readers for sending me an e-arc of this book to review
This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.
Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.
Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.
I first knew I wanted to read Definitions Of Indefinable after reading a chapter sampler, I was drawn to the expressive writing and the snarky characters. This unique books deals with a variety of important topics including mental illness, teenage pregnancy, family and loss. It’s a unique read in that the characters are so cynical and sardonic yet they tease each other with witty remarks and mockery which just makes it oh so enjoyable.
I found the writing to really be something special, with the overly descriptive paragraphs and humorous narration. It compliments the story perfectly, adding a bit of zest in moments of downright despair. Likewise, there are an abundance of relatable and heartfelt quotes scattered throughout the book, I found myself stopping at almost every page to note down a meaningful quote.
Now this review is about to get personal…
When I first started reading Definitions of Indefinable things I thought ‘wow this girl has a bleak outlook on life’, and this wasn’t too appealing to me. But then I remembered, that’s what depression does to you. It eats at your soul and leaves this hatred of a person that really isn’t you at all. I guess the reason this was my first impression of Reggie, was because I used to be just like her, back when I was depressed. I dislike remembering those days, days of sadness and despair. But inevitably this book conjured up memories of all the things I used to be. I found Definitions of Indefinable things a great representation of depression and mental illness.
Halfway through the book there was this quote that really stuck out at me because I swear it’s something I’ve said before. Reggie explained that “Someone told me once that caring was just a way to survive. He said that you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. So you might as well do. But, I don’t agree. I think you’re just damned if you do. Nothing good can come from caring too much. It’s painful when it’s justified and it’s painful when it’s not”. This is something remember telling myself years ago when I finally learnt that caring too much can lead to heartache, and even now, some days I’m still afraid that if I care too much I’ll get hurt. It’s still something I’m working on, but thankfully, my depression now is far behind me.
Reggie also explained “That was my trigger. Absence. Realising it’s inevitability.” Reading those words were immensely relatable. My situation was very similar to that of Reggie’s. After being incredibly hurt by the inevitability of absence I separated myself from everyone and sank into a deep depression.
Overall this was a great read that is very unique and relatable, I highly recommend!
Quotes: *quotes have been pulled from arc and are subject to change*
“Sometimes it felt like it was my mind that was the cruel one. Like it was true what people say about you being your own worst enemy. That, or I was just plain crazy.”
“Fear is the greatest betrayal we commit against ourselves.”
“It’s trees, water, grass, and sky. I could get it on the Discovery Channel.” “Yeah. But experiences are better than the replications, aren’t they?” “Our experiences are just replications of other people’s experiences.”
“We don’t always feel pain for a reason. Sometimes we hurt because it’s better than nothing. We hurt to feel alive.”
“You what I think? I think we’re too young and imperfect and unpredictable to decide who should be with whom and who is the proverbial ‘one’ and what draws us together apart from the simple bias of human obligation to the concept of love. So I don’t care if you’re with Carla, or convincing yourself you’re without her, or pining after wants you can’t obtain because the bias of love falls short on you. You want what you want, but there are some things that never change.”