Anna Bloom is depressed—so depressed that her parents have committed her to a mental hospital with a bunch of other messed-up teens. Here she meets a roommate with a secret (and a plastic baby), a doctor who focuses way too much on her weight, and a cute, shy boy who just might like her. But wait! Being trapped in a loony bin isn’t supposed to be about making friends, losing weight, and having a crush, is it? In her fiction debut, Julie Halpern finds humor in the unlikeliest of places, and presents a character whose voice—and heart—will resonate with all of us who have ever felt just a little bit crazy.
Ø Why is Anna in a mental hospital?
Ø What “issues” does Anna think she has? Is she suicidal? Is she overly-obsessed with her weight? Is she a danger to others?
Ø What factors do you think really contributed to her parents’ decision to place Anna in the hospital?
Ø How does Anna treat the other patients? How do they treat her?
Ø Describe some of the other characters. How do their perceptions of themselves allow you to get to know them?
Ø What gets Anna through each day while she’s in the hospital?
Ø Can you put yourself in Anna’s shoes? Do you think she’s crazy?
Ø If it was you, what would you NEED to bring? Why does Anna crave her own clothes, her favorite shoes?
Ø What do you think will happen between Anna and Justin?
Ø What is life like for the “patients” on the “outside”? How do you think Anna is going to adjust back in her real life? How do you think she might be treated – by her family, Tracy, kids at school?
Snack ideas: Cap’n Crunch cereal
Activity ideas: Draw portraits of each other!