I started reading Kelley Armstrong’s The Summoning because of the promotion where it is available for free online. I wanted to see if it was worth advertising on this blog, and it is. I enjoyed the parallels between the onset of magic and mental illness. The author brought awareness of the stigma surrounding mental illness to an audience that might not have chosen a book directly about that topic. The challenges faced by the teens at Lyle House represent the challenges those faced with real mental illness face. Armstrong seems to be in the school of thought that being treated like you are crazy makes you believe you are crazy, and this encourages more behaviour that restarts the cycle. Being cut off from their lives and surrounded my other mentally ill patients sometimes severs their connection with reality instead of restoring it.
I’m sure the target audience will focus more on the cool magic powers and the conspiracies, but I hope they will be moved as I was and think about real homes for troubled teens.
Putting mental illness aside, the author explored the general theme of wanting to feel normal and have the changes you are going through be explained. This is an element I think many teens will relate to.