I’m sitting here stunned and quite frankly a bit speechless. This book is brilliant. It is a brutally honest look at mental illness as dealt with by a teen. So often we tiptoe around this subject, in real life as well as screen or prose. This felt raw and honest. The multi-POV makes for an engaging and fast paced read. I was glued to the book as soon as I opened it. An absolute must read.
A Divided Mind by M. Billiter
5 +++++++ Stars
Its been 4 days since I finished this book…I’m still not sure if I’m ready to review it but I have to so that maybe I can get some closure. I’ve read a lot of books in my life and I’ve almost met my challenge this year and I’ve got a handful of favorites so far this year in many different genres. I have to say that this book touched me in ways no other book ever has. I’ve read many of the reviews where so many said it wasn’t what they expected as they were looking for a thriller as it’s described.
LiteraryTerms.com defines thriller as
A thriller is a genre of literature, film, and television whose primary feature is that it induces strong feelings of excitement, anxiety, tension, suspense, fear, and other similar emotions in its readers or viewers—in other words, media that thrills the audience.
In my opinion this was every bit the Domestic Thriller I expected. As a Mom I was thoroughly invested in this story and felt every emotion described in the definition above. I can’t even imagine how I would have handled everything in this story but kind of feel like it would have been very similar to the actions of what this mother did and how she reacted. I could completely relate to it all. I finished reading this book and had to sit after crying and having a hard time reading the words to finish and I just sat and stared. My husband even asked me if I was ok at one point. I was in awe at how well this story was written and how real this author kept everything. The Mom in this book wasn’t perfect, she didn’t do what society deems right in every aspect but the one thing she did do was Love with her whole being.
I could probably sit here and write as many words for this review as there are in the book itself so I’m going to focus now on this author. I’ve read other books by her and genuinely loved them all, but this one has made me seriously want to meet her. I want this book in my hands physically and I know I will read it again and again.
My advice…Read from cover to cover..not just the story but the before and after the story then do what i did and go to her website and read her about me.
Thank you Miss Billiter for giving me this book, it will never leave my mind and no matter what I read in the future this book will always hold a special place with me and i saw a bit of a hint of another to possibly follow. Oh My Goodness I must start preparing for that.
A Divided Mind by M. Billiter was a unique read that was a completely different then I thought it would be.
I went into this book thinking it was a thriller but, it was more like a life contemporary, about metal illness, and how this family had to face that life challenge. So it was a little off putting for me that this wasn’t the thriller I was hoping for, but overall I did like this story. You can tell a lot of care and research went into making the read as emotional and realistic as possible.
I will say that, the mother was not my fave, as this book was told in dual POV, you got a few different angles. She has expansive taste, but complained about the financial stress; seemed like she didn’t have her priorities all that straight. I just couldn’t connect all that well with her. Branson on the other hand, was a well written complex character, that drew me in, and really made this story for me. I love when it was his POV, and that’s what kept me reading.
Overall this book is a surprise, and it as a whole, is quite the multi-layered tale about a families journey through the effects that mental illness has on not only the MC, but his family circle as well. On that note this book gets my high recommendation and my stamp of approval
-Review by @eawalsh
A Divided Mind by Mary Billiter was a really emotional read. I would give this book four out of five stars. Branson is your all american boy that hears voices. Only his self awareness and communication with his mom gets the ball rolling on dealing with the voices. This book really pulled at my heartstrings, as a mom of a young boy I could not imagine going through this scenario. Tara’s strength and determination to deal with what live as dealt her was admirable.
A Divided Mind by M. Billiter was a lot different to what I had expected- not really in a bad way but definitely not what I thought I’d be reading. I snapped this book up thinking I was getting a thrilling mystery with perhaps a psychological aspect to the story, but instead found a contemporary fiction story focusing on mental illness and how the individual, his family, and friends come to terms with it all. I may have been a little disappointed to begin with, but after reading the story I can honestly say that I don’t regret purchasing this book.
Branson’s story is quite emotive, and it made me think. It has an edgier rawness to the story, but it definitely isn’t a thriller. It was interesting- as the author shows the effects that mental illness can have not only on the individual, but also on their family, and all their other relationships. There is a definite adjustment period, a turbulent time full of struggles, that really tugged at my heartstrings. The author gives detailed insight into the Schizoaffective Disorder- as well as exploring the relationship between Branson and his mother, as well as his twin brother, and other siblings.
The story came across as really well planned, thought-out, and researched- it’s given me plenty to ponder, that’s for sure.
Thank you, Ms. Billiter!
Reviewed by @angelahayes
Where do I begin??? This is the first book I have read by this author but it most certainly won’t be my last! I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book, and what I got was soooooo much more than I imagined! While it is a fictional story, it is so real and so packed full of emotions, you can’t help but feel the pain and sorrow these people are going through. I was crying by the end of the first chapter and could still feel the emotional impact of this book hours after finishing it. This story will stay with me for a long time.
Mental illness isn’t really something I think about much. It’s something you see on TV shows, or read about in books. A Divided Mind not only gives you insight into the seriousness of the disease and how it affects the person who has it, but also how painful it is for their family as well. How a parent can be in denial of what is happening to their child because it’s not something you feel they deserve to be going through, because you want to take it away and would do anything to make your child whole again. How it affects your siblings, friends, enemies, and everyone else you associate with throughout life.
I’m not sure I can even review this book in a way that will do it justice. It is a book that needs to be read. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down until I finished the last word (which will leave you gasping in surprise!). Branson and Tara touched my heart and mind as I’m sure they will yours. I highly recommend this one!
Reviewed by @chellek44
A Divided Mind by M. Billiter is a fictional story but written from experience. It is well written and absolutely nothing like I expected. It is a realistic look at a mental disorder and the struggles that each one affected by it goes through. It is both sad and frustrating and I went through so many emotions reading it. How do you help someone with a mental illness? Having experienced a mental health problem myself, and watching a work friend go through this exact same situation with her son who has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia, that is a hard question to answer. Mary did a good job of but at times I wanted to smack the mother, she frustrated me no end at times but I also understand her point of view. It is told in several POV which gave us a greater insight into their states of mind.
Tara is a mother who is trying to help her son and come to understand what he is going through as they travel the diagnosis of being schizophrenic.
Branson is trying to adjust to a life that is filled with the unknown, and not knowing what is real and what is not.
Well done Mary and Kyle for sharing this with us. This is an emotional and at times difficult story but one that should be read.
Reviewed by @jennadb
I am not even sure what I want to write about this story. I thought it was going to be a mystery/suspense for some reason. It’s more about coming to terms with mental illness. This is on the heavy side because it’s a teen. So we learn a bit on how he deals with it as well as how his family learns about it and how they deal with it. At the beginning it seemed very confusing. I read the first couple chapters more than once. Trying to figure out whom was actually talking. It said at the beginning of the chapters who it was about but it was misleading in the chapter. I think the author tried to add some trickery at the end as well but it seemed to again confuse me. Anyway this is story is insightful and horrid at the same time. The author did a good job showing the reader both. I was happy at the ending but the Epilogue just threw me for a loop. Now I don’t know what to think.
This isn’t my first book by this author. I enjoy her storytelling and her characters always seem so life-like. The book read choppy for me at first but then smoothed out.
A Divided Mind by Mary Billiter is a fantastic story about a teenager struggling with mental illness and learning how to cope with it.
This book is not at all what I was expecting. When I first started reading it I thought it was going to be more of a mystery/thriller type book. When I realised what the story was actually about it intrigued me more. While a lot of books tend to touch on this subject it always seems to be very briefly, and in a minor character. The way the author tries to delve into the mind of someone suffering in this way should be applauded.
The story takes you on such a journey as not just Branson tries to figure everything out but so do his family. You could feel how much emotion and thought was put into the book. This was a brilliant read and one that has definitely left me thinking afterwads.