Monday, 7 December 2015

Caragh Reviews // Cloud 9 by Alex Campbell

Published - 3rd September 2015
Publisher - Hot Key Books
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - If there was a wonder-drug to make you feel happier, would you take it?  With no side effects, Leata is the perfectly safe pick-me-up! What if everyone you knew had been taking it for years - your teachers, your friends, your family? Leata - helping the country feel more positive! What if your dad was dead-set against the drug and the corporation behind it? Not all questions bring the answers we need!  What if he died? What if you begin to suspect he was killed? What if you've lived your whole life believing in something - only to find out it's a lie?

I'm not sure how this review is going to go, as I still haven't really figured out how I feel about it. When I read what this book was about, I was SO excited to start it. Also, thanks to Holly @ The Arts Shelf for letting me read your copy.

I know there are a few books out there now that boast the same kind of plot and expectations and i'm almost always disappointed - I can't let this idea go and one day i'm truly expecting to be blown away.

Anyway, onwards we go!

I loved that the chapters went back and forth between Hope and Tom. Strangely, I really preferred Tom's chapters than Hope's. I think Hope is really where my problem lies with the book. She's a GREAT character and I really enjoyed her character growth throughout the book. I just really couldn't get behind the whole vlogging, blogging, branding thing that Leata requires. Don't get me wrong, I can totally see how relevant and contemporary it is, I just didn't enjoy it and I really can't put my finger on why that is. YouTube and blogging is so important today (Hello! Blogger here!) but to have that be a very focal point in a book? I just don't think i'm ready for that.

However, there's more to Cloud 9 than Hope's constant internet presence. The mystery surrounding Leata was great. Once I got into it, it honestly kept me turning the pages to find out what Leata is and more importantly, what the big secret was! I was genuinely surprised by the answer too. I enjoyed the relationships between characters and how you never really knew who could be trusted. It was also such a great insight into mental illness.

Personally, I have suffered with depression and anxiety for the past 10 years on and off and Cloud 9 kind of opened my eyes to a bigger picture. Obviously, a lot is being done to combat mental illnesses and take out the stigma that is so often attached. I can see the progress we have made just from a personal perspective but Cloud 9 shows that there is still so much work to be done. The idea of Leata is that it eradicates 'misery' and replaces it with pure 'happiness'. With the use of pills, anyone can be happy! But of course once you've read to the end you know that actually this isn't entirely true. I think the same can be said for things like antidepressants. More effort should be put in to determine the causes of such conditions. In the long run, therapy treatments are way more effective than medication which just masks the real issues to provide a brief feeling of...something else. It's not real happiness.

Overall, it was quite an informative book if you get past the 'fluff' parts. I'd like more of an insight to what happens after the book ends - what the results and consequences were long term but alas, that's what happens when you crave standalone books!

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