Calm on and carry on. Possibly one of the worst things to say to a person with anxiety, such as Maeve, who has been told useless slogans like this all her life.  In Carrie Mac’s newest novel, Ten Things I Can See From Here, Maeve Glover is a young woman struggling with a severe anxiety disorder, constantly imagining all the ways her life can possibly turn towards disaster. Her situation becomes more stressful when her mom announces she is moving to another country for six months, and that Maeve has to go live with her recovering alcoholic father and his extended family.

After her mother moves to Haiti for half a year, Maeve relocates to Vancouver to live with her father, her pregnant stepmother, and her two twin half-siblings. In addition to her anxiety, Maeve’s new home presents a whole new set of things to worry about, including her stepmother’s fast-approaching home birth and worrying over whether her father will relapse. At the same time, Maeve begins a new romance with Salix, a musician she meets upon moving to Vancouver, a bright spot in the hectic mess that is her life.

When it comes to representing anxiety, the author has definitely done her research, handling Maeve’s mental illness with the weight and respect it deserves. Each page captures Maeve’s anxiety, allowing the reader to understand how anxiety can be a constant presence in one’s life. The romance between Maeve and Salix is very sweet, entwined with humor, patience, and understanding. The book exists without the constant presence of homophobia, as Maeve’s family is very accepting of her sexuality, something that needs to be seen in more queer YA.

Some aspects about the novel might give potential readers pause. Though wonderfully sweet and adorable, Salix seems mostly to exist within the eyes of Maeve, needing more details, such as additional struggles and concerns of her own, that could flesh her out as a character, rather than just functioning as a love interest. The book delves into many plot twists that take away some of the focus on Maeve’s story, which is her anxiety and relationships with Salix and her family. Trigger warnings should be issued as the book momentarily features an assault scene and the complex way characters choose to define it.

Ten Things I Can See From Here is a enjoyable coming of age story that delicately tackles issues such as anxiety, relocation, family, and young love with sensitivity and empathy. Carrie Mac creates a well-written story about a young woman coming into her own while always trying to rise above the challenges in her life.

 

Ten Things I Can See From Here
By Carrie Mac
Knopf
Hardcover, 9780399556258, 320 pp.
February 2017


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  • Beautiful Dreamer Press

One Response to “‘Ten Things I Can See From Here’ by Carrie Mac”

  1. […] Ten Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac was reviewed at Lambda Literary. […]



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