A Divided Mind by M. Billiter is a good emotional piece about the struggles of a family dealing with one of it’s children being a schizophrenic. A Divided Mind comes out on July 27 2019, it’s being marked as a thriller and I don’t feel it fits that category, general fiction fits it better. The book does have one or two thrilling moments, but it is more of a think piece that show how an individual and his mother deal with the illness. The novel is mainly told through Branson who has schizophrenia and his mother as she deals with the diagnosis. I was not prepared for the humor in this piece, that really helps with the flow. It sometimes reminded me of a much serious version of C. D. Payne’s Youth in Revolt. I enjoyed this novel and found it very engaging. I would like to think Netgalley and Hot Tree Publishing for giving me a free advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Plot: Tara receives a call from her 17 year-old son Branson that he’s hearing voices as he blacked out and was found with bloody knuckles at school. Tara who is now a single mom thinks it is PTSD of her family surviving her first ex husband who was abusive towards her and her children. Branson is coy with telling people all the details about what he calls “shadow people” that will assassinate people he disagrees with in his mind. The voices have been getting louder and transforming. Tara sends him to a specialist that says it’s not PTSD but schizophrenia. The disbelief is strong and she doesn’t know how to deal, she finds a notebook of her son’s journal and reads all about a girl who has tormented her son, and decides to get revenge as she’s a college admissions officer for the university and creatively makes her not a candidate. Branson life gets more complex as he starts seeing a new person in his life, but are they real or not is what the reader will be asking.
What I Liked: The humor both Branson and his mom Tara have some wit to them in the form of internal thoughts. The struggle of Branson and his other personality be sometimes the only one he can confide in, but also wanting that person gone for his own health. Carson, Branson’s sister, solves so much of his mother’s problems, I loved her character. Dr. Cordova seems like the perfect doctor never rising to any bate of the characters but slipping out a smile when he can’t contain the funny situation or answer in front of him. I loved the story about how the kids were named, and I loved their names. I loved Tara’s revenge plot, and all that things that happened because of it. The cat creature was very scary and written really well and easy to visualize. I really liked the ending.
What I Disliked: The people in Branson’s life our way too accepting. There’s an instance where Branson steals something and a person that don’t know him helps him out, I found really hard to believe. I found it to easy to tell who was real and not in Branson’s mind, but the book acts like this is a mystery.
Recommendations: I will recommend this book as a good emotional sometimes humorous general fiction book. If you’re looking for a thriller you will be a little disappointed, the book is not with some thrilling moments and one okay twist but in my humble opinion not a thriller. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.