Everything’s Jake by Christina Greer Tackles Anxiety In Teens #YALit @ReadWriteBlue2

 

anxiety in teens

Anxiety and depression are treatable, but 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report. Many parents don’t recognize the symptoms in their kids, and there certainly aren’t a lot of young adult novels that deal with the issue—especially YA books with a male protagonist. Most males dealing with mental health issues feel it’s something they need to hide.

Everything’s Jake by teacher and new author Christina Greer delves into anxiety in teens, filling a much-needed niche. Christina was my daughter’s teacher in fifth grade, and we first met at Parent-Teacher Night. Little did we know that we would become good friends and critique partners. After I spoke to her class about writing books, we got to know each other better and I learned that she was an aspiring writer. When Christina moved, we stayed in close contact and kept tabs on each other’s writing journey. I am so excited that she has published her first young adult novel.

To protect his reputation, a teen boy must choose between revealing his struggle with anxiety, or keeping it hidden. The truth could cost him everything.

What had started out as one small panic attack has morphed into something else entirely for Jake Forest. One more Google search, one more squirt of hand sanitizer will surely keep him safe. In control. Alive. Jake’s obsessions spiral him out of control as he begins lying to keep those close to him in the dark about his irrational thoughts.

Told through inner dialogues, conversations with a therapist and plot-twisting emails from a mysterious girl he meets on a plane, Jake must decide which battle is worth fighting. Is his desire to appear strong, normal, and in control more important than admitting that he suffers from mental illness? Is he willing to jeopardize his relationship with Summer, his father, and his friends to maintain this perception of control?

Excerpt

Even though Nathan died seventeen years ago, Mom still tells people I’m a twin. Or at least I was for fifty-five minutes.

     “Yeah, I know.” I fidget with my phone, hoping that our time is almost up and offer nothing more.

     “You were identical twins, correct?” Elaine asks.

     Identical? Matching DNA? Um, maybe not. Don’t go there. Just tell her what she wants to hear.

     “Yes.” The details surrounding Nathan’s death are sort of murky for me, so it’s not something I talk about much.

     Dude, she’s your counselor for God’s sake. What are you afraid of?

     “Jake, it’s important for you to understand that Nathan’s death couldn’t have been prevented. You do get that, right?” Ellen presses.

     My jaw clenches and the question I’m afraid to ask bounces around in my mouth. Our eyes meet.

     She knows you’re hiding something.

     My silence betrays me. Elaine senses I’m holding back, so her next words surprise me.

     “Well, we’re almost out of time. We won’t see each other next week because you’re heading up north to see your grandparents after Christmas, right? How’s that going? Having any thoughts about the flight?”

     “Not yet, but I’m sure as it gets closer, that’ll change.” I’m relieved that my response to this particular question is an honest one.

     “Based on the events of the past few months, you’re probably right, Jake. Remember, if you change your mind just call my office and I’ll call something in for you.”

     “Thanks.” I wish her happy holidays and slide into the hallway before she has the chance to say anything further. The door to the parking lot swings open and a breeze rushes to greet me. Even though it’s December, beads of sweat form a line on my forehead the minute I get into my car. Elaine’s words about Nathan echo in my head. Scientifically I know I’m not responsible for his death, but logic has a way of eluding me these days. Merging into traffic, I open my window and let the weight of the words I’d held back in Elaine’s office escape into the wind.

     If it hadn’t been for me, Nathan would have lived.

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About The Author

Christina Greer lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts with her husband, twin daughters, and two Golden Retrievers. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Education. Christina has been a teacher for over twenty years, and a lover of books her whole life.

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