In a time of hardship and heartbreak, sometimes, reality just isn’t enough. Slipping Reality is the story of fourteen-year-old Katelyn Emerson, who, when faced with the glaring reality of her brother’s illness, rebels against the truth by slipping away into the depths of her own imagination. There, she finds the kind of support and comfort she feels she deserves. There, she does not have to feel so alone. And yet, as Katelyn’s grasp on reality begins to unravel, so too does the story of a girl who grew up too fast and fell apart too soon. Emily Beaver’s debut novel is a coming of age story that deals with the trials of young grief, insight, and growth where it’s least expected.
It took me longer than planned to read this book, but sometimes life gets in the way. For Emily Beaver, and her character, Katelyn, life got in the way of her normal life as well. The story is told from a young girl’s perspective as she deals with the finality of her brother’s battle with cancer. She finds escape in her imagination, although at times, her fiction is so believable, you begin to wonder what’s real and what’s not. Beaver’s writing is amazing, but you don’t discover that until you are well into the book. The beginning of the book goes back and forth between reality and imagination so much that it’s hard to keep track of where you are and what’s happening. I think with a little editing this could have been fixed up. Once the baseline of the story is set though, you are drawn into a world that allows Katelyn to deal with the anxiety and issues she has related to her brother and best friend dying.
There are a lot of raw emotions in this book, and it’s hard not to feel for both the character and the author. At the end of the book, there is a note from the author detailing how she came to write this story about her struggles with her brother’s death at a young age from cancer. The beginning of the book is clearly written by a 14 year-old, but you can see her writing blossom as she develops the story. I am excited to see what comes from her in the future.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has lost a loved one, or is dealing with the loss of a loved one to cancer. I would also recommend this to teens who are dealing with a loss of any kind. I know reading similarly themed stories as a young adult helped me through some hard times and I know I would have read this had it been released all those years ago.