Title: 10 Things I Can See From Here
Author: Carrie Mac
Disclamer: I received a copy free via Netgalley for review purposes
Maeve struggles with severe anxiety. She can’t help but worry about everyone and everything, which can often be debilitating. When her Mum decides to take a 6 month trip to Haiti, Maeve gets sent to live with her Father, a recovering addict struggling with sobriety, and her pregnant step-mum in Vancouver. However, her move to Vancouver brings a new slew of worries which Maeve struggles to control. She meets Salix, a cute violinist, and a romance begins. However, her anxiety makes navigating her relationship and her life hard, and unforeseen events happen that starts to test her limits.
10 Things I Can See From Here was a fantastic portrayal of anxiety, with the added elements of a f/f romance. Maeve’s anxiety is largely focused on death. She creates obituaries in her head and memorises death statistics as a coping mechanism. When her Mum doesn’t text back, she thinks of the worst-case scenario. My anxiety isn’t as severe as Maeve’s, but I could really relate and I totally understood the intrusive thoughts that come hand in hand with anxiety.
The opening was FANTASTIC. I loved the little list at the beginning titled ‘Stupid Things People Say’, such as ‘You are not your anxiety’, ‘Don’t exaggerate’, ‘Keep calm and carry on’, ‘What is there to worry about?’, ‘Just put it out of your mind’, ‘Why get upset about something so small’, and many other things. Anyone with anxiety has heard these MANY times, often from people close to us.
10 Things I Can See From Here is a very character-driven novel – Maeve is at the centre of this story. So if that isn’t your thing, I’d steer clear of this. I liked Maeve, she felt familiar and authentic. I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews which state that they disliked Maeve largely due to her anxiety. Stating that her anxiety is unbelievable and annoying and that Maeve is selfish and obnoxious because of her anxiety, which I think is highly disheartening – especially in a book with such realistic portrayal of anxiety.
I liked that Maeve had a supportive family. I loved her relationship with her step mum. It was a very positive one which I think is unusual in YA – her conflict with her family was with her father who is a recovering addict that is struggling to stay sober. I’d have loved to see more of her relationship with her mum, but she was absent for the whole book, but I got a sense that the relationship was really supportive, so I’d have loved to have seen it.
I really liked her relationship with Salix. It was slightly insta-love – more like insta-attraction – but there was some really good development and it was super cute. I also really loved Maeve’s description of her attraction to girls:
“Being queer was also about not being into boys. Just as it was about attraction, it was also about an absence of attraction, like white space. Girls shimmered, as if all the light shone on them and not on the boys at all. Boys were hardly there, just shadows and background noise. I liked how girls talked, and moved, the way they smiled, or tucked their hair behind an ear…the lines of their arms and the curves of their bodies.”
Another positive of the romance was that it didn’t ‘cure’ her of her anxiety. In fact, nothing really changed with her anxiety, which I liked because we all have our own coping mechanisms (as did Maeve), but anxiety never goes away.
While I really connected with Maeve, I do feel like the secondary characters and story itself could have been fleshed out a bit more, as it was very character driven rather than plot driven. I’d have also liked to see some closure at the end, especially regarding her father and his sobriety.
While I thought the representation of anxiety was realistic and authentic, I want to warn readers that because Maeve suffers from severe anxiety and a lot of intrusive thoughts, if you suffer from anxiety yourself it may be a bit difficult to read and may trigger your own anxiety. Other than that – I’d definitely recommend.