Today I am honoured to present a guest post by Joan F. Smith, the author of The Half-Orphan’s Handbook.
The Half-Orphan’s Handbook
by Joan F. Smith
Published by: Imprint/Macmillan
Publication date: April 6th 2021
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Young Adult
For fans of John Green and Emily X.R. Pan, The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith is a coming-of-age story and an empathetic, authentic exploration of grief with a sharp sense of humor and a big heart.
It’s been three months since Lila lost her father to suicide. Since then, she’s learned to protect herself from pain by following two unbreakable rules:
1. The only people who can truly hurt you are the ones you love. Therefore, love no one.
2. Stay away from liars. Liars are the worst.
But when Lila’s mother sends her to a summer-long grief camp, it’s suddenly harder for Lila to follow these rules. Potential new friends and an unexpected crush threaten to drag her back into life for the first time since her dad’s death.
On top of everything, there’s more about what happened that Lila doesn’t know, and facing the truth about her family will be the hardest part of learning how a broken heart can love again.
Destigmatising mental health issues with children and teenagers.
(Guest post by Joan F.Smith, the author of The Half-Orphan’s Handbook)
Thank you for the opportunity to guest post on destigmatizing mental health issues in children and teenagers. I’m not the first person to say that there has been major stigma surrounding mental health and I certainly will not be the last; I’m also not someone who can diagnose or treat it. (The first place to talk to for concerns regarding mental health in kids would be a pediatrician and/or a school adjustment or guidance counselor.) What I do know is the stigma of mental health, especially the shame that society expected me to feel after my father died by suicide. I know that what I can do is write about the feeling of growing up as a child who has experienced trauma, and hopefully readers can identify portions of themselves or their experiences in my work to know they’re not alone.
What I very much believe in is stripping the secrecy from it, from talking about it, from giving people the tools to seek help. Mental health issues are hard enough to experience without additional shame; stigma and shame become a barrier to healing. There are so many paths toward bettering mental health, including teaching your brain to think differently; if people feel stigmatized or worried they’ll be judged for seeking help, then improving mental health becomes that much more difficult.
Recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that mental illness affects nearly half of teenagers. I think the only good news about this statistic is that in my experience, teens are more forthcoming with their struggles today than they were in the past. I teach dance, and my students openly talk about their therapists and their experiences with anxiety, which is a huge change from even just a decade ago. Destigmatizing what millions of people endure while both normalizing and improving access to help can quite literally save lives.
Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
- Print copy of The Half-Orphan’s Handbook
Joan F. Smith lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she works as an associate dean, a creative writing professor, and a dance instructor. She received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and has written articles for The Washington Post and Thought Catalog on destigmatizing discussions around mental health and suicide prevention. The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is her debut novel.
Thank you very much to Joan F. Smith for her touching and thought-provoking post!
If you would like to find out what other bloggers thought of The Half-Orphan’s Handbook, you can find the full blog tour schedule here.