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Reviewed by Stacie Haas for Readers' Favorite
In Independence Day by Rachel Teller, a beautiful yet cranky teenage girl named Candace Wisenhardt is on the verge of having everything she ever wanted—a life of relative peace being the girlfriend, fiancee, then wife of her hockey star boyfriend, Mitchell Harlow, as he joins the Western Hockey League. She is eager to keep their apartment, put together their meals, and continue to be arm candy as Mitch navigates the attention his talent attracts. Candace knows her aspirations aren’t lofty—even for an 18-year-old teenager recently graduated from high school—but to her they are everything. After all, maintaining low expectations is perfectly fine when you’ve been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Sometimes just getting through the day is all the energy she can muster—that and trying to keep her outbursts and spirals under control so that her boyfriend of three years will stay the course.
Candace’s journey in Independence Day by Rachel Teller is absolutely engrossing. The curtain is pulled back on teenage mental illness in a manner that doesn’t simply show it to you but puts you inside it. Candace’s voice is raw and honest as she battles borderline personality disorder and everything that comes with it. Candace is content one minute and breaking down or contemplating suicide the next and she doesn’t know how to change it—all the therapy, pamphlets, and Google searches claim there is no magic pill or potion to solve her problems, and as such, it’s hard for Candace to move beyond the belief that it’s just who she is. For precisely that reason, Candace’s quest for independence is potent, mind-boggling, and worth every minute. Rachel Teller’s novel is “inspired by real people,” and it’s clear the author writes with unmatched authority, compassion, and honesty that serve her readers well. I thank Rachel Teller for helping me to better understand the struggles of mental illness; for showing me the absolute humanity of real people who suffer; and for telling such a brave story that will leave a lasting impact on me. Independence Day was not always the easiest book to read; however, it was one of the most important reads of my life. Recommended.