Stay Crazy, by Erica L. Satifka
Description: (from Apex Book Company)
After a breakdown at college landed Emmeline Kalberg in a mental hospital, she’s struggling to get her life on track. She’s back in her hometown and everyone knows she’s crazy, but the twelve pills she takes every day keep her anxiety and paranoia in check. So when a voice that calls itself Escodex begins talking to Em from a box of frozen chick nuggets, she’s sure that it’s real and not another hallucination. Well … pretty sure.
An evil entity is taking over the employees of Savertown USA, sucking out their energy so it can break into Escodex’s dimension. Escodex needs Em’s help to save his dimension and to keep hers from collapsing. But Em isn’t certain she wants to help Escodex. She has other things to worry about, like staying off the Savertown USA bowling team, busting her sister’s chops about her new found religion, and getting out of Clear Falls, PA.
When her coworkers start mysteriously dying, Em realizes that she may be the only one who can stop things from getting worse. Now she must convince her therapist she’s not having a relapse and keep her boss from firing her. All while getting her coworker Roger to help enact the plans Escodex conveys to her though the RFID chips in the Savertown USA products. It’s enough to make anyone Stay Crazy.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.
After reading a good review from an author I like on goodreads and stumbling upon Stay Crazy on netgalley, I decided to give it a go. It is a fast and suspenseful read that I enjoyed.
I liked how even as a reader with a bigger picture than Em I couldn’t know if everything was for real or not, I felt as lost as her. There were times where I thought that obviously it was all in her head, but on other times I was as certain as she was that it was all real. Sharing her anxiety on believing the voice or not was enlightening on this condition. I had already read one or two books with a main character afflicted with schizophrenia but it was very different here, and I guess it is different depending on the person!
“You have to take care of yourself. My dimension depends on it.” – “Great, now even my delusions are nagging me about my mental health.”
The plot begins when employees at the big store start killing themselves. So I guess I should put a big trigger warning about suicide, I was not super okay about the way it was handled. Even if I never knew anyone who committed suicide I felt bad about the way it was brought up. Maybe it is well done if one considers Em is on a pretty bad place herself and, even if she’s not a bad person, she doesn’t really care for what is happening and does not talk about it in a thoughtful manner. But I think someone who has strong feelings about this might have some issues when reading those passages.
“Em looked over the collection of sepia vials on her bedside table. Red for paranoia, blue for panic, green for depression.”
Stay Crazy is not as Scifi as the cover would let us believe, the scene pictured is from the end of the book. Most of this novel is about Em’s life in her city and her life working in retail, plus her anxiety and paranoia, her mental health and struggle to get better while living with her mother and sister. The retail life was really well told, I worked several times during the summer and found many situations I also encountered. It was fun that this was the first time I came across this same experience in a novel!
I also liked how despite how bad Em feels about everything and her family, she still tries to be supportive of her sister even if she doesn’t agree with her life choices (here mostly about religion). Even if the religious side was maybe a little bit exaggerated. Maybe a pious person would have felt hurt by the way the novel portray faith, I don’t know.
I often prefer to read “ownvoice” book when it is about mental illness, but seeing from the notes by the author she seems to have made a lot of researchs and I trust it was done pretty seriously. Obviously if anyone with more info than me on this kind of thing is passing by, has read the book and doesn’t agree with all this, please do not hesitate to comment! I’m always ready to learn and edit my review. 🙂
Overall I liked Stay Crazy, I had a good time because it kept me guessing and wondering until the very end.