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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Some Kind of Comfort: A Coming of Age Adventure by Gary Clark is a literary teen to young adult crossover novel that revolves around a high school student named Charley. Charley is a musician with paralyzing anxiety that impacts her ability to perform but also impacts the others in her group who believe they have the potential for more but are stunted by Charley's debilitating mental health issues. Her partners are frustrated and one, Mia, is unable to disguise her anger. When a fellow student named Matt takes violent advantage of Charley and a deadly eating disorder puts her in the hospital, her resolve to carry on breaks beyond repair. She must come to terms with what plagues her, what has happened to her, and learn that she is worthy of care, respect, and the dignity that comes with it, not just from those around her, but from herself as well.
At a sushi restaurant, I once witnessed someone I love order cucumber rolls, remove only the slivers of cucumbers and eat them carefully. Aside from a diet cola, that was all she had for lunch. Charley's battle in Some Kind of Comfort felt deeply personal and Gary Clark does an incredible job in making her come to life so much bigger than the fragility of her body and mental health allow in the story itself. The writing is bold and polished to the standard of genuine literary fiction, and I found myself surprised as the book progressed that it was Mia who stood out as the best, most authentic character after Charley. It is proof that seemingly divergent paths can be deceptively parallel and this is highlighted also by the others she bonds with while confined to the relative safety of a care home, and by a friend named Danny who is frequently overlooked. As a mother, I really do believe the work is suitable—and in some ways important—to share with 14+-year-old teens. It's not a fast read. It's not an easy read. It's not a read that has a plot that takes us from point A to point B, but it is engrossing, and in its sadness, there is a hope that makes it beautiful. Truly. Very highly recommended.