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Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan

 

Praise:

“For any kid who thinks no one else gets it, this is the book you want. Hunter and Corin are two kids simultaneously leading each other to the edge and pulling each other back. Friendship, defiance, dark humor?all the tools of survival and escape are in Kyle T. Cowan’s novel. Sunshine is Forever wryly shows that happiness isn’t just in the bright spots. It’s there to be found in the midst of hard times, too.” –Anthony Breznican, author of Brutal Youth

“Savagely entertaining. It’s The Bell Jar meets Chuck Palahniuk? Cowan tackles teen angst with his own unforgettable brand of dark humor.” –Helena Echlin, author of Gone and co-author of Sparked

“There are summer camp stories and then there are summer camp stories. Cowan has managed to rip off the Band-Aid to show us the darker side of being a teen in today’s world. At times hilarious and heartbreaking, Sunshine is Forever is a powerful YA debut.” –Kari Luna, award-winning author of The Theory of Everything

“Cowan has the guts to take teen suicide and turn it into a darkly comic page turner in an unexpected camp setting.” –Malena Watrous, author of If You Follow Me and co-author of Sparked

“Deep, truthful, and raw, Sunshine is Forever is a book that every school library should carry. This is my favorite book so far of 2017.” –Dave Barrett, author of It’s All Fun and Games, winner of the Nerdist Collection Contest

Sunshine is Forever is surprisingly relatable. Keeps you on the edge of your seat! Very suspenseful.” –Amber Portwood, author of Never Too Late, reality star of Teen Mom OG

“Kyle T. Cowan’s Sunshine is Forever bravely reveals the story we all must hear, but are all too often afraid to tell: the human experience. Using humor and pain, Cowan bares the emotional essence of his writing with such honesty, that we are moved to self-revelation in the end.” -Lew Temple, actor in The Walking Dead

“Kyle T. Cowan’s Sunshine is Forever is a powerful examination of teenage angst, sort of a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for young Millennials. This is a tough story, but it’s also one that’s filled with hope. A wholly impressive debut.” –Jason Pomerance, author of Women Like Us

Sunshine is Forever is a beautifully raw depiction of the human condition, unabashedly showing the heart’s ability to not just survive, but truly thrive. Cowan teaches us that no matter the depths of our darkest depression, so long as we have an open heart of honesty, forgiveness, and self-accountability, light and love will return?for sunshine is, indeed, forever.” –Jamison Stone, author of Rune of the Apprentice

“The greatest strength of Sunshine is Forever is author Kyle T. Cowan’s dedication to unflinching honesty. Every single one of his characters is raw and flawed and the more relatable for it. Through this lens, Cowan is able to capture the doubts, desires, and dizzying heights that come with youth. Sunshine is Forever is a tale of self-discovery that reminds us all that we are whole, ever-changing, and perfectly imperfect.” –Brooke Wylie, critic at We Write Things

Review

Hunter Samuel Thompson, not the famous writer Hunter S. Thompson, had an incident he refers to as ‘Little Accident,’ ever since he has had depression. In this first person narrative with lucid prose uncomplicated and empathic, he has you in his findings of whys of his state of whirlwind of mind and recalling and unravelling for the first time the details to others in the same shoes as him, an unravelling of demons so hard for him and any teen.
He finds himself at Camp Sunshine in Iowa for treatment, as he mentions, “Camp Sunshine is a camp for depressed teens. I like to call it Camp Suicide.”
There he joins forces in ways with Corin, another teen in despair, but is she what he needs?

He tries to define his feelings, find love, sharing and talking through the darkness and trying to build trust along the way.
He explains having a noose around his stomach and not knowing how to release this, reading and hoping he finds ways out, some peace, keeping you reading, his unraveling and finding a release from the incident and to keep living.
He needs to revisit the darkness, lighten his burden and speak, this has you reading on with a memorable read and memorable characters.
Maybe tagged as young adult fiction, a necessary passage of time for all ages through one characters depression.
He needs to fix himself, he needs therapy, structure and Sunshine.

Ughhhhhhhhhh. Just kill me. Please, if I’m this terrible, just kill me. My heart started to race. And I could feel my face getting hot. I wanted my parents out of my life. Surgeon Dick should have wrapped his tool on the night of my conception. They should have just aborted me.

I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing. It started to rain and the droplets left trails across the windshield as I sped down the highway. I waited for a cop to pull me over, for someone to stop me from what I was about to do, as I exited the highway and ran a stop sign. I don’t believe in God, but that would have been a good time for him to swoop in and save me from myself. But there was no flash of light from the sky. And no flashing police lights from behind as I weaved through traffic toward the exit. There was just me and my choices.

An attempted suicide is a bruise to a family’s permanent record. And a successful suicide—well, that’s something that people will always whisper about around a family but never actually question the family about directly.

I realized that Camp Suicide was as toxic as those memories. Depression is infectious. This place required us to rehash our past over and over again. I was going to die if I didn’t get out of Camp Suicide soon. I didn’t know how much longer I could stand it.

The Incident. I couldn’t overcome that demon—some demons are just too evil to conquer. I wondered if I would ever tell him about my past, or if I would just leave him in the dark forever.

 



Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 10 September 2017