Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu

Four Weeks, Five People

They're more than their problemsObsessive-compulsive teen Clarissa wants to get better, if only so her mother will stop asking her if she's okay.Andrew wants to overcome his eating disorder so he can get back to his band and their dreams of becoming famous.Film aficionado Ben would rather live in the movies than in reality.Gorgeous and overly confident Mason thinks everyon...

Title:Four Weeks, Five People
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0373212305
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages

Four Weeks, Five People Reviews

  • Girlwithapen93
    Feb 23, 2017

    I was sucked into this book from the very first page. With well positioned and well written characters with lives described that made you believe that they were real kids with real mental health issues, who wouldn’t be sucked in? But it was the writing in the book that initially sucked me in and was the only thing that made me keep going back to the book. The first one hundred pages of this book are great, but then from the moment the five teenagers get to camp, it gets confusing. A group of tee

    I was sucked into this book from the very first page. With well positioned and well written characters with lives described that made you believe that they were real kids with real mental health issues, who wouldn’t be sucked in? But it was the writing in the book that initially sucked me in and was the only thing that made me keep going back to the book. The first one hundred pages of this book are great, but then from the moment the five teenagers get to camp, it gets confusing. A group of teenagers, with similar, not very well described different mental health illnesses and personality, go to New York to attend a wellness camp, four weeks of group and individual therapy for ill teens.

    But here lies the problem with the book: the story is being told from the five teenagers point of view, alternatingly. Every time the chapter changes you must think back to the character who is now talking and their mental illness in particular, to work out why they are acting and thinking the way that they are. It goes from one to another and the story continues but the issues don’t continue.

    The other main problem with this book is that it doesn’t allow for the situations to play out. During the camp, the teenagers are charged with creating a cubby house, a safe house, by the end of the book, is it made? Is it finished? Who knows because you don’t really find out. Then there is a major thing that happens which I won’t mention, although you might work it work halfway through the book if you see what is happening. This one event happens and from then on, it is like nothing else that was mentioned previously can be touched or mentioned again.

    The book doesn’t end, or it does but not properly enough to make it seem like it has finished. I liked this book initially and it took me a while to get through it because too much happens and as great as it is that there is a diverse young adult book that solely talks about teen mental health issues, I don’t think this one was done right.

    I give this book 2.5 out of 5 Booky Stars!

  • Gabrielle
    May 18, 2017

    actual rating:3.25 it actually left a bit of an impact on me and i connected to the characters a bit more by the middle and the end but there was close to no character development and it dragged at times some parts i had to skim but i enjoyed it

  • Gina
    Mar 16, 2017

    I had so much hope for this book but it turned out to be a cliche piece of garbage. the portrayal of these characters with their disorders was poorly executed and borderline offensive ( and in some cases just super offensive). Some tweens will find joy and angst in it.

  • Kasey
    Mar 26, 2017

    This is the best "YA, real people" book I've read in quite a while. (Real people as in not-fantasy). I was really engaged with the characters, curious about the larger issues and specific incidents that brought them to a "wilderness therapy camp" experience, recommended by the doctors and therapists and parental units in their lives. I liked the slow reveals, the natural way that the reader learns more about each character as they get to know each other and as they come to realizations about the

    This is the best "YA, real people" book I've read in quite a while. (Real people as in not-fantasy). I was really engaged with the characters, curious about the larger issues and specific incidents that brought them to a "wilderness therapy camp" experience, recommended by the doctors and therapists and parental units in their lives. I liked the slow reveals, the natural way that the reader learns more about each character as they get to know each other and as they come to realizations about themselves through the work they are doing at camp. And -- very small spoiler alert -- realizing that FEELING is really the hardest work of all.

    When I got to the end of the book, and saw in the author's notes that this is her first published novel, I couldn't believe it. The dialogue, the interior monologues, the novel's structure, and especially the growth and setbacks for the characters rang really, really true for me. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand OCD, bipolar, anorexia, or just dealing with intense feelings and learning to forgive yourself for being human.

    I received an ARC of this book because I co-own an independent bookstore.

  • Bayli Mohr
    Apr 18, 2017

    *I received this ARC from a goodreads giveaway

    I got almost halfway through this novel before I gave up on it. Four weeks, five people (I hate the title...couldn't it be something a bit more creative?) is about 5 teenagers with a mental illness that meet at this therapy camp. I'm sorry, but it was just so cliche and just ugh!! I feel like a popular YA trend these days are of mental illness, and I just feel like now it's overused. It's just really cheesy and predictable and I really wanted to like

    *I received this ARC from a goodreads giveaway

    I got almost halfway through this novel before I gave up on it. Four weeks, five people (I hate the title...couldn't it be something a bit more creative?) is about 5 teenagers with a mental illness that meet at this therapy camp. I'm sorry, but it was just so cliche and just ugh!! I feel like a popular YA trend these days are of mental illness, and I just feel like now it's overused. It's just really cheesy and predictable and I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. I felt like this book didn't get to the same depth as others similar to it did with mental illness. It was just one of those books that followed a trend, and had nothing original to add to it.

  • Brooke
    Apr 24, 2017

    One of my favorite themes in YA is the process of recovery. Count me in for characters with mental illnesses & various disorders- I'm all for MCs I can relate to & root for to heal. So naturally I was excited to read this, but unfortunately it fell short for me.

    The premise of FOUR WEEKS, FIVE PEOPLE had a couple of things going for it right off the bat. 1.) a male MC with anorexia (there needs to be more books that have males with eating disorders; there needs to be titles that shows th

    One of my favorite themes in YA is the process of recovery. Count me in for characters with mental illnesses & various disorders- I'm all for MCs I can relate to & root for to heal. So naturally I was excited to read this, but unfortunately it fell short for me.

    The premise of FOUR WEEKS, FIVE PEOPLE had a couple of things going for it right off the bat. 1.) a male MC with anorexia (there needs to be more books that have males with eating disorders; there needs to be titles that shows there is hope for them, too). 2.) a character with narcissistic personality disorder (I was so excited to see how this would play out because there isn't too many YA books with that theme, at least not that I'm aware of). Basically, I was hoping for a lot more substance than there actually was.

    The novel takes place during the four weeks the characters stay at Camp Ugunduzi. We have: Clarissa, who's obsessive-compulsiveness disorder allows her to find comfort in "safe numbers"; Andrew, who is trying to overcome his eating disorder so he can get back to his band; Ben, who has pretty much checked out from reality & finds his safe haven in films; Mason, who is narcissistic & would rather be anywhere other than CU; Stella who is trying so hard not to feel & angry that she is attending camp for the second year in a row. The diversity of the characters makes it seem like this will be a worthy "recovery" read, but the overall execution & lack of character development made me frustrated & ultimately disappointed with the climax- at which point I felt didn't carry the full impact the author had likely intended.

    The biggest problem I had with this was the lack of "recovery". A lot of this book, between the dialogue to the multiple drinking situations (which is fine, if done to add to the story not subtract) made for so many fillers I honestly had such a difficult time finishing, only doing so because I wanted to see if any of the characters would show growth. (Spoiler: nada.) In many other books I've read with this theme there's a lot of MC/therapist back & forth type sessions. This may be cliched, but for the most part ends up working well. Readers can see an obvious difference between the MCs' beginning & end; it is easy to spot the growth & you feel like you learned something here. This was not the case for FWFP. There's no such sessions here, just group therapy (minus weekly weigh-ins & quick side chats) which again can work if done properly. Through these situations I didn't learn anything more about any character by the end than I did when first introduced to them in the early chapters. This left me severely underwhelmed. Why bother creating a story if there is no character growth?

    Another thing that really bothered me was the techniques shown to try to heal. Besides discussions of energy & "understanding begets understanding", there were really no effective methods used here. I'm actually surprised by the counselors because you could have fooled me- they didn't act like ones at all. Not having anything to take away from the four weeks spent at camp to use in your life really sucks. And of course the MCs (save one) come back home better (or at least, okay) & somehow equipped with the knowledge to make changes in their lives. Like, what? The turnover between week 1 to 4 felt incredibly unrealistic. I don't mean to sound rude, but there didn't seem to be enough of a struggle here to have the characters see their life as it is & to have the desire to change. I don't know if it's just me but it doesn't make sense. It's almost like the characters have their disorders written next to them, but it's not a part of them. None of the ideas & portrayals are fully flushed out, making it seem like the author just went through a checklist. I HATE when that happens.

    The premise ideas that had me excited just left me angry by the turn of the last page. Mason went in an asshole & came out one. Nothing was done to try to help him- so why the hell was he there, other than spew out hurtful comments? I wish Andrew's anorexia was more touched upon; in my opinion he was the character that needed to have the biggest role & just fell to the side. Ugh. The ONLY thing I liked here was Stella's statements about falling in love will not stop your disorder, will not make you better all of a sudden. That cannot be said enough.

    It hurts my heart to give this such a low rating, especially since there was such a great potential to help readers, but this was so mediocre & didn't bring anything new to the table. Considering that this is Yu's debut & how difficult it is to write anything at all, I feel more comfortable giving this 2*, although it is logically more closer to 1 for me. I can't attest to whether I'll read any of her future works. I can think of several other YA novels I'd recommend before this one, including HOW IT FEELS TO FLY & PAPERWEIGHT. I wish this had been more enjoyable instead of a read I would have rather just skipped.

    *I received an ARC from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest & unbiased review. Thank you!*

  • Taneika
    May 11, 2017

    Put simply, Four Weeks, Five People follows five teenagers attending a summer wilderness therapy camp. Stella has severe depression, Andrew has anorexia, Clarissa has OCD and anxiety, Mason has Narcisstic Personality Disorder, and Ben has Depersonalisation disorder (and I think he also has Bipolar disorder, although I can't be sure

    Put simply, Four Weeks, Five People follows five teenagers attending a summer wilderness therapy camp. Stella has severe depression, Andrew has anorexia, Clarissa has OCD and anxiety, Mason has Narcisstic Personality Disorder, and Ben has Depersonalisation disorder (and I think he also has Bipolar disorder, although I can't be sure!). Having only suffered Depression myself and having not dealt with any of the other disorders represented in the book, I can't speak for the representation, however I felt all of it was handled sensitively, realistically and mental illness in this book was NOT romanticised (yay!)

    Four Weeks, Five People was SO EASY to read! While I *technically* started this book at the end of April, I really didn't have time to read at the time, so when I picked it up again, I read the entire book in almost one day. No joke, I read about 150 pages in one sitting and it felt like no time had gone by at all, it was completely unputdownable and each of the characters had me entirely captivated.

    As there are five viewpoints, I was admittedly a little worried at first, however Jennifer Yu did a wonderful job of making each character's voice unique and I found it easy to switch between characters as frequently as the book did. Each chapter was incredibly quick/easy to read and I enjoyed almost everyone's point of view (except for Mason, who I just did not like in general).

    I absolutely adored the rest of the characters and I found Stella to be particularly refreshing as she was so outspoken, snarky and generally pissed off at the world. Admittedly, Stella did say some pretty shitty/offensive things, they were quickly challenged by other characters in text which I REALLY appreciated, and despite being incredibly stubborn, Stella was incredibly understanding of others and apologised when she messes up.

    Andrew was probably my other favourite character and I wanted to hug him/be his friend so badly. We see the very beginning of his eating disorder recovery and while I've never had an eating disorder, it felt authentic and was incredibly emotional to read (I admit, most of my tears were caused by Andrew).

    As this is a book about recovery, I wasn't too sure what to expect because let's be real, recovery doesn't just happen in four weeks or less. It's a long road, full of ups and downs and you might have lots of good days, but also just as many bad days. It's not straightforward, and as someone who considers themselves recovered from depression, my mental health is still something I work at EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This book didn't try and pretend the characters would be 100% better by the end, it's repeatedly drilled into you that four weeks is NOT a very long period of time and I was completely okay with this! If you're expecting a shit tonne of character development or recovery from them in Four Weeks, Five People, you'll be disappointed. The characters certainly experience growth and learn things, but at the end of the day, they are still all in recovery and this therapy camp just happens to be a part of their recovery, not the end of it.

    There was also a little bit of romance, which while I was okay with, I'm glad it didn't overshadow everything else. As a result of said romance, there's also a big part where Stella basically says romance is not a cure for mental illness and you shouldn't rely on romance to help you. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS PART??? I was half cheering her on when she was saying this (although a lot of what Stella says comes across as an attack, I STILL LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS - also Stella is still pretty awesome in general tbh)

    While I loved this book overall, I do wish we got to see some things from other people's perspectives, instead of seeing certain events unfold from another's eyes (I won't go into detail, because spoilers!). However, I think this just made me want more from the story as a whole and I'd love to read the backstories (or futures) of a lot of the characters because I felt so attached to them!

    Four Weeks, Five People at it's core is a story about recovery and all that can encompass it. Beautifully written with memorable characters, I absolutely loved this book so incredibly much and flew through it in a day.

  • Stacy Fetters
    May 20, 2017

    This was labeled as one of the summers top reads and I'm trying to figure out why!? The synopsis is a y.a.'s wet dream and it was extremely hard to make a connection. The stor

    This was labeled as one of the summers top reads and I'm trying to figure out why!? The synopsis is a y.a.'s wet dream and it was extremely hard to make a connection. The story was slow moving with characters that were very stereotyped and cry-babyish. I don't see myself recommending this to anyone.

    Five teens come together for four weeks at a wilderness therapy summer camp. They all have their own problems that they are all trying to overcome. With each chapter we get the separate views of each individual character as you learn why they are really at this camp.

    Clarissa is obsessive compulsive, Mason believes everyone is an idiot but him, Ben would rather live in a fictional world, Andrew has an eating disorder which he thinks ruined his chance at his band becoming big and Stella is the bitch of the group who has trust issues.

    Some of these teens has more bigger issues than the other, but they all know that they need help. With a set schedule they will be able to better handle their situation while also breaking some of the rules.

    Will this camp help them overcome their illnesses to have a better life and have a better outlook to the future?

    I liked the idea of this camp who helps teens deal with their issues. It's unique compared to all the other mental health ya books out in the world, but I couldn't look past the darkness of most of the characters. They tried a little bit too hard to come off as rule breaking. I didn't see the point of that.

    The only character that I felt was genuine was Andrew. His story was the most heartbreaking out of them all and I hope she furthers his story.

    The cover is very appealing, but I'm confused by the blandness of the title. I'm sure if she put more thought into it she could have come up with a better title.

    Disappointing!

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