Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️
TRIGGER WARNING: self harm, suicide, drug addictions.
I feel like it’s important to warn potential readers of the difficult subjects mentioned, as I went into this book blind and it’s so triggering. I had to skip over the opening scene because it hit a little too close to home for me.
Val and Louis (or Lou) have something in common: they have both lost a parent to suicide. And while Val turns to drugs and harming herself, Lou tortures himself mentally by obsessively reading his father’s suicide note. When they meet, Val does everything she can to push Lou away, but Lou is determined to get to know her.
Sounds like a typical, angsty new adult romance, right? Well, sort of. It’s definitely a cheese-fest, but I did enjoy it. I also loved the ending because, when Val and Lou finally got together, there wasn’t a Big Event That Could Make or Break Them. You know? I liked that.
Val is a decent character. She was incredibly rude to Lou at the beginning, and I have literally no idea why Lou continued trying to win her over. She always looked for an ulterior motive with him, which I could actually understand, as that’s a part of mental illness.
Lou was a sweetie. His voice didn’t really sound like how I imagine a twenty one year old’s to be, but he was sweet.
I also liked the fact that there wasn’t a big deal made over the fact that Val was black; there wasn’t any racism, which is obviously a massive plus, and Val never felt insecure about the colour of her skin.
Now, the main reason I’m not giving Not So Fragile 4 stars is because of how triggering I found it. The opening scene involves Val banging her head and breaking a mirror, which was just far too hard for me to read about. While the rest of the book wasn’t too graphic in the self harm details, there were odd phrases about “taking a knife to my wrists” and about cleaning up blood that was just massively triggering for me; and because they’re only odd sentences dotted about here and there, it’s pretty impossible to avoid them.
I do realise, however, that a book about self harm is obviously going to contain self harming – I just didn’t realise it was a book about self harm, so I think that’s something that should be specified further in the Goodreads synopsis.
The suicide isn’t really in depth or anything, but it does need mentioning because it could be potentially damaging to someone vulnerable.
I can’t really comment on how triggering the drug use is, having never suffered from a drug addiction myself, but Val does mention her addictions quite a lot.
Triggers aside, I did like Not So Fragile, and got through it very quickly. I do wish I’d known about the self harming, because I’m not really at the place where I can comfortably read about someone self harming without thinking about it myself.
*I received a free e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review*