It Helps with the Blues by Bryan Cebulski Book Review

Book Description

Jules leaves. Gabriel rages.
Estelle changes. Joshua hides.

In the aftermath of a classmate’s suicide, a boy embroils himself in a community of Midwestern teens, each doing what they can to cope as they stumble—together and apart—toward a life worth living.


TW: Suicide, Biphobia, Drugs, Underage Drinking, Sex

Thoughts and Themes: I saw this one on Book Sirens and decided to give it a chance since the premise looked pretty good. This one was one that was not the best but it wasn’t bad either. It was just okay and the ending of the book just felt unfinished. After thinking about it though and the multiple references to Catcher in the Rye in this book, the unfinished ending just seems to fit for this character and this story.

As I started this book it felt a lot like I was back in high school reading The Catcher in the Rye and then the references to that story came up and I realized that it was supposed to feel that way. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book as it took me back in time and reminded me of that story and how much I enjoyed it as a teenager and how it was the only required reading that I enjoyed.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through the things that our main character says about them. I like that the only way you know both Jules and her brother, Joshua is through the letters that are included from them. You don’t really attach to any of the characters that are included in the story as they feel like they are just passing through the main character’s life. They aren’t really there to stick around but they do have a large impact on his life, his actions, and how he carries himself.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person point of view with the narrator speaking directly to the audience. There is several letters from others included in this book as well to add to the story. One of those letters is written directly to the narrator and another is written to a character who commits suicide but also semi written to the reader to explain these events.

I really liked this writing style because I felt like this was a conversation I was having with the narrator. I felt like it was a therapy session where he was just pouring out all his feelings without expecting anything out of it. I feel that this is why the unfinished ending works because he doesn’t expect a response. He has to come up with his next step on his own after being given information from others and looking at the things he just shared.

Author Information

Bryan Cebulski

Journalist and writer of quiet queer fiction. Woodsdweller. Aspiring point-and-click adventure protagonist.


1 thought on “It Helps with the Blues by Bryan Cebulski Book Review

  1. Pingback: April 2022 Wrap Up | Unconventional_Quirky_Bibliophile

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