Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis

New World Library. Sept. 2019. 184p. index. notes. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781608686353.
Gr 7 Up– As a mother and psychologist who lost her husband to suicide, Hugstad is both personally and professionally committed to helping teens understand their experiences and providing useful and compassionate advice. The first chapter informs teens about brain development and explains why their brains both function and develop differently than adult brains. The following chapters cover an array of topics including depression, bullying, technology addiction, self-harm, anxiety, and substance abuse. In each chapter, Hugstad first defines a challenge then lists and explains the associated signs and symptoms. This is followed by a teen’s personal story and concrete advice on getting help for themselves or a teen they know. In the chapter that discusses suicide, the author shares her story of her husband Bill’s experience with mental illness, namely depression. The back of the text includes endnotes, a resources list, discussion questions, and an index. While Hugstad’s book is highly thorough and compassionate, there is an absence of photographs, infographics, and illustrations. Including relevant visuals would help make the book more approachable.
VERDICT An in-depth guide that can educate and empower teens in crisis. An important book that should be purchased for public and school library collections.

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