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Review by Suze
Ellie has been admitted to the Lovely Soul Institution. She's given in to the darkness inside of her and in the institution they're trying to make her heal. Her therapist asks her to make two lists, one of the good things in her life and one of the bad, the D.B. List. On the D.B. List she's supposed to write down the events that lead to the moment it all became too much. There are many people who deserve a place on the list, bullies, family and guys she used to date. Will putting her feelings on paper help Ellie to feel better?
While being in the Lovely Soul Institution Ellie makes friends and enemies. She forms deep, possibly lifelong, connections. Visiting hours are torture at first, but then she meets two guys who cheer her up. One of them is the brother of one of the other residents and the other is a resident himself. Are they good guys? Can Ellie trust her own judgement and will she be able to learn from her past, even though reliving it is one of the hardest things she's ever done?
The D.B. List is an impressive story about mental illness. Ellie feels broken inside because of several things that happened to her. My heart ached for the girl who was just looking for love, but received something completely different. Even though Ellie wanted to give up at first, she's trying to become stronger now. I admired her courage to face the most scary and painful moments of her life. It's something incredibly hard and she keeps trying to make progress. She's a sweet and talented girl, someone with so much promise, but due to people who were bad for her she couldn't see the good parts of herself any longer. Reading her story and knowing that many (young) people feel the same way brought tears to my eyes.
I loved how Rebekah L. Purdy writes about Ellie's struggle in a realistic, honest and raw way. Being in an institution isn't easy. There are rules, not every patient will improve, not every situation is a good one and getting better requires a lot of hard work. Even though the subject matter is heavy Rebekah L. Purdy makes sure there's enough lightness in her story as well. There's love, friendship and hope, which is what makes Ellie's stay bearable in the first place. Her story immediately grabbed me and didn't let me go. I read it in one sitting and loved every single page. I highly recommend The D.B. List, it's a beautiful must-read.
If you're looking for a good YA story about mental health problems The D.B. List would be a perfect choice.