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Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

normal-tuesdayIt’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide. Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a ?grief camp? for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Kim Turrisi’s beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book’s appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai’s authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.


Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turissi starts on a normal day before Kai’s world is shattered by her sister’s suicide. The book takes us through all the motions from when Kai found the suicide note to her finding the body. It started off an emotional read and went on this way for most part of the book. What I found interesting is that the author did not just gloss over the details of the death. There were details about the funeral as we saw the family making decisions about the clothes for the deceased and the kind of coffin to pick.  It was easy to connect with their characters and get to understand how each one of them was dealing with the grief.

This book has quite heavy themes of suicide and mental health issues. It gives an in depth look of the victims. In this case, I was surprised by the methodically way that Jen planned her death yet her family had no clue that she was even depressed. It made me wonder about how many times people around us hide their pain so well that we don’t know what they are going through until it is too late. The book focuses on the grief of those left behind, the suicide survivors. The different emotions that the family went through from denial, pain, anger to guilt.

I already mentioned just how heavy this book is but it actually got heavier as the story progressed. Kai ends up in a grief camp and is surrounded by teens and even younger kids dealing with grief. In her group, we meet people who have lost loved ones. There is a kid who lost her grandmother, another who lost his dad in Afghanistan, a twin who lost his brother in an accident…there is so much pain all around. However, through the pages, we also get to experience the character’s healing as they deal with their pain.

Just like in the first chapters where the author gave details about Jen’s death and her funeral, readers also get details about the grief counseling. We get to learn the exercises that the teens had to take and how this helped them. This helps in understanding their personal journeys There is a bit of romance that blossoms at the camp which was great to read about in the midst of all the sadness.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turissi is an issue-oriented YA that covers themes of death and mental health issues. Other themes that come up in the story include; substance abuse, family, friendship and healing. This is the kind of book that will break you and then fix you up again.  If you want to get an understanding on issues of grief, suicide and coping then I definitely recommend this book. I also think that readers who like issue-oriented YA books may like this book.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi will be published on May 2, 2017 by Kids Can Press, thanks to them and net galley for an arc



13 comments on “Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

  1. cleopatralovesbooks
    December 17, 2016

    A great review of a book on quite a depressing subject, especially for this time of year.

  2. Donna
    December 17, 2016

    Fantastic review! This book sounds raw and heavy. I like that the author added details about funerals and all those silly decisions that belong to life like the choice of clothes. This kind of details is what stayed with me when I was faced with my first funeral. I feel like this book does its work in helping understanding the process of grief.

    • Diana
      December 18, 2016

      I’m sorry you went through that.I have never participated in planning a funeral so this was an Eye-opener for me.I have never thought of how tough all those decisions are but they really do seem difficult.The book makes readers think about a lot of things especiall about suicide.
      Thanks Donna 🙂

  3. Great review Diana! This sounds like a really good book that successfully examines some pretty heavy issues in a believable way.

    • Diana
      December 18, 2016

      Yeah,I think the author did a great job in handling the issues.The characters were quite realistic so it was easy to follow their journey.Thanks Kim 🙂

  4. Laila@BigReadingLife
    December 18, 2016

    Wonderful review, Diana. I can see how this book would be very helpful to a young person going through grief.

    • Diana
      December 18, 2016

      Thanks Laila,I think so too.The author really tackled the subject tactfully and in depth so yeah it would be helpful

  5. Annie
    December 18, 2016

    Lovely review, you knw, my current read starts with a women finding a letter that says: If you’re reading this I’m already dead haha Such a cliché… but in my book it is a murder :/

    It seems like this was a fantastic YA read! I used to read a lot of them years ago!

    • Diana
      December 18, 2016

      Your book sounds good.That opening line is a cliche but its always interesting to see how the story goes.I am so late to the YA party.I started reading them this year but I’ve found some really good ones.

  6. Grab the Lapels
    December 24, 2016

    This book find very helpful for teens. When I was that age I was mostly reading Sweet Valley Twins, which taught me nothing but self-loathing and jealousy

    • Diana
      January 17, 2017

      Sorry, I am just seeing this comment now. I guess I missed it because of the holidays. Lol I read Sweet Valley through my teen years too.

      I think that this will be a good read for anyone going through mourning but esp teens.

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This entry was posted on December 17, 2016 by in Book Review, Bookish Post and tagged , , .
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