Review – The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd

Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.

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This book was not what I was expecting when I first downloaded it. The blurb that accompanied it was vague and mysterious and something about that intrigued me.

Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.

When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.

I don’t know why I was so drawn to this blurb, but it spoke to me and I wanted to read it immediately. And I’m so glad I did!

My favorite thing about The Museum of Us is the way it deals with mental health and mental illness. The entire book takes place over two weeks (another thing I really enjoyed was the compressed timeline) in the psych ward of a hospital. Redd’s treatment of the hospital and its nurses and doctors is delicate. She doesn’t make them into the enemy, not really. There are a few times that the institution is vilified, but the health care professionals are treated with respect. I find this to be extremely important, especially in today’s world where conversations about mental health are still shaky and have to be approached delicately.

The Museum of Us addresses mental health head on. Without saying too much (because I don’t want to give anything away), I love the way that Redd handles Sadie’s character and Sadie’s specific needs.

In fact, I love the way Redd handles all of her characters. She makes them individuals who are quirky and different and real. They’re raw and they have flaws. But in typical YA fashion, they’re much larger than life. They’re beautiful and broken and they rely on each other. Unrealistic characters can ruin a book for me faster than nearly anything else.

The many pop culture references made this book timely, but in a way that it won’t make this book seem aged in a few years. The references to Harry Potter make it feel modern, but Harry Potter will remain relevant for many years to come. Sadie also has an affinity for old movies and old music. Her love of Casablanca and other black-and-white films makes this novel charming and timeless.

Something that I loved about this book is its absolute quotability. I highlighted so many things in this galley that stuck out to me. The author has a way of saying very profound things in very simple language. Of course, I can’t share many of them with you without revealing the plot, and I won’t spoil the plot for you. It was too beautifully and expertly crafted for that.

The Museum of Us is shrouded in mystery and is completely unputdownable (yes, it’s a word.) It’s riveting. It’s captivating. And I stayed up well past my bedtime to read it. I hope that you love it just as much as I did.

Plucky’s rating?

4/5 Stars

I recommend it to anybody who’s open to conversations about mental health. But this book should come with a trigger warning: there is some minor discussion about cutting that I was not prepared for. If this is triggering to you, just know that it’s minor, but it was triggering for me.

I hope you read it and love it. The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd will be available for purchase on June 26, 2018.

Yours,
The Plucky Reader

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