Rating – 4/5 Stars
Matty – A handsome, young teenage boy, most popular among students, favorite of his parents, girls drool for his attention. Inside, he is suffering from mental depression for reasons unknown to him. Everything around seems futile to him, he cries without any reason, and the worst part is that he is afraid of talking about it to anyone. That is what happens to a person going through mental depression. Outside, he is a semblance of a normal person. Inside, he feels smothered by unknown darkness.
Matty is one such teenager, who musters the courage to confess it to his family. Doctors try several medications, and nothing works much. Then he gets prescribed an under-trial anti-depressant called “Effugium”. Whenever he takes it, he gets transported into another world. He time travels to his childhood, future, and unknown times under its influence.
He shares a platonic relation with Laila, who is a girl next door. They are in the same grade, but Matty hardly noticed her before. They met during the summer job, and Matty felt a sense of comfort with her. He wants her to be a part of his “escapes”, as he named it. Laila is a wise girl holding the responsibility of her triplet siblings at home. Like all other girls, she also gets attracted to Matty and concedes to the idea.
As a debut novel, Emma has done a splendid job in crafting a gripping tale. The majority of the scenes are of their escapes, which could have been monotonous and mundane. Impressively, she managed to introduce enough variety to keep them captivating.
In between the story, I felt it somehow glorifies drugs (anti-depressant). As the target audience is young, it may mislead them. The impact could have been better if the POV was of Matty’s. Although practical, yet the ending is not that satisfying. Since we are in a fantasy, it could have been dreamy and fascinating.
This story is not about love and cliché romance sequences; it focuses on friendship, support, and bonding between two teenagers.
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