Review: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

Welcome to Camp Reset.

A residental camp for teens with mental health problems. A place that Olive hopes to find normality at. But, is it Olive and her new friends that need fixing, or society?

Now, Lemmings & Snowflakes is a book I’ve been looking forward to for months. When I saw it on BorrowBox it was an immediate download and I started it right away with high hopes – you can bet I’ve read almost all of the authors other books.

I just knew from the very first page the disorder that Olive must have. Click away now if you don’t want spoilers for this, because it’s a thing I do want to discuss. Olive doesn’t want to know her diagnosis, but I have a form of it and I could tell that she has it, too. So Olive has Bipolar – I’m unsure what type as it was never specified, and I think Holly did an excellent job at writing about this. I could strongly relate and I really felt for Olive, especially when she was making bad or hurtful decisions. She wasn’t overly likeable when manic but I’m glad of this, because it’ll hopefully make more people aware that there’s more to mental illness than panic attacks and depression naps. Another thing is that Olive kept wanting to improve herself, to do her best to be a better person.

Something that did bug me though was that Olive didn’t want to know her diagnosis. I felt like the fact she had Bipolar was being hidden somewhat to lead up to a reveal. I know not everyone wants to know what’s wrong with their brain but personally my diagnosis really helped me in several ways, especially with being mindful of my actions and my mood changes. I feel that Olive really could’ve worked on herself better knowing what her diagnosis is and I would’ve personally preferred if the book went in that direction, but again I do like and appreciate that Holly wrote about the ugly side of mental health down to Olive not being properly medicated and I wonder now if this was done on purpose. I also felt like Olive didn’t have much of a personality, but again this could’ve been because her mental illness was consuming her. Something I am really impressed about being included was the fact that if prescribed to a misdiagnosis, an antidepressant can bring on a hypomanic episode.

Lemmings & Snowflakes made me sad often, I wanted to reach into my phone and give Olive a hug and tell her everything will be ok. She had no self belief and really thought she deserved nothing good, and that everything bad that’s happened is all her fault. Two other characters I really felt for were Sophie (I wanted to protect her at all costs) and Lewis. I think it’s brilliant of Holly to have included males who were struggling as society tends to sweep their mental health under the rug, telling them to simply “man up”.

This book was raw and impactful, with hard hitting quotes that show what it’s truly like to live with a mental illness. There were some parts that I felt a bit iffy about but I did like this book, it spreads the importance of being kind and it helped me to get out of a slump.

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