Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T Cowan
Published by Inkshares; scheduled for August, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 270 (ebook)
So! I have a lot of feelings about this book. There’s a lot to love here and some things I definitely didn’t dig. So let’s get into it!
After a life-changing decision, Hunter decides that he can’t go on…
…which lands him in Camp Sunshine, a rehab center for depressed teens. Hunter is determined to keep everyone there out of his head, especially his therapist. But when he meets Corin, a beautiful, mysterious, and confident fellow camper, all Hunter wants to do is open up to her, despite the fact that he’s been warned Corin is bad news.
When Corin devises a plan for them to break out of the camp, Hunter is faced with the ultimate choice — will he run from the traumatic incident he’s tried so hard to escape, or will he learn that his mistakes have landed him right where he’s meant to be?
I really liked the secondary characters! Quint, a boy at Camp Sunshine is completely amazing. The other kids at CS are really unique and easy to keep straight, and I really enjoyed them.
Hunter, our narrator, is so easy to empathize with. Especially if you’ve ever been depressed. His character isn’t always likable, but he’s very real and completely easy to connect to.
Corin, though, Hunter’s love interest, I had some real problems with. And we’re going to get to that.
Makes this such an easy read. It’s so humorous, so sharp, filled just enough with sarcasm and sadness and I love it. The pacing is spot on, carrying you through really quickly.
It’s also one of the most accurate depictions of this level of depression that I’ve seen. It’s first person narrative, so we get to experience with Hunter how he feels. He doesn’t want to get better, he assumes his life will end in suicide, and it’s not pretty, but it’s real.
There are a fair amount of triggers here, so be aware of that. Self-harm, talk of former sexual abuse, suicide attempts. That’s kind of just the nature of the beast here.
So, I’d like to make clear that I have never been a sixteen year old boy, so I can’t say how realistic this is, but Hunter is pretty sure that sex will cure his depression. His “love” for Corin is really just lust, and their relationship is really bothersome for me.
I can’t stand when two people have almost no interaction, but decide they’re in love. I get that they’re teenagers, I get that people can be intoxicating and you can meet someone who feels like your everything very quickly. But I didn’t feel an “aww!” about Corin and Hunter, I felt “What? Why? How?” And because of this, I could never root for them.
I also just genuinely didn’t like Corin. She felt very trope-y to me. She’s the crazy girl that’s so exciting and mysterious and seductive! But also mean and hateful and kind of awful? I couldn’t stand it. In nearly every interaction, she’d call Hunter a girl, tell him to man up, tell him to grow a pair, the list could go on forever. All my least favorite phrases came out of her mouth. Hunter even said he hated the name calling, she made him feel like less of a man, and her controlling nature bothered him. So their “love” for me was mostly upsetting.
Sunshine is Forever is good for what it is. I think it’s a great conversation around depression and all forms of mental illness, I think there is some great stuff about taking accountability for yourself and your actions. But I also think the relationship between Corin and Hunter being labelled as love is extremely problematic, and only made more so by its being a book for teens.