Synopsis: Sometimes Xavier wakes up feeling hopeless.

Every new doctor … this will fix it.

Removing him from school … this will fix it.

The therapy group … this will fix it.

And his dad moving out. Maybe, this will fix it. Despite his positive affirmations, the black dog never really leaves him. It watches from the corner of his room, never straying too far away—waiting for the perfect opportunity to sink its teeth in.

But Xavier has a plan—one he hopes will help all the kids in his support group. Enlisting the help of best friend Aster, he tries to convince his dad to turn the family sheep farm into a therapy retreat for the group session kids. But he is up against decades of tradition, his parents who are on a “break,” and the spectre of the black dog.

Can Xavier learn to cherish the moments in between the struggles—the moments in the meantime?

Release Date: 1st January 2022

Genres: Middle Grade, Teen, Mental Health, Friendship, Animals, Coming of Age, Contemporary.

Pages: 192

Thank you so much to Riveted Press and Netgalley for the earc to read and review.

Review: This book hit me hard, I mean it literally hit me so hard and I connected and I cried so incredibly much and I felt like the author knew some of what was in my head. I haven’t related to a character this deep in such a long time. I honestly feel like Xavier’s mind was so similar to mine in so many ways. I’m shocked that a book can hit me so hard. I still loved every single bit of this book and I ate it up and read it so quickly.

It’s so rare to find a book about mental health in this age range let alone find one that has been written so delicately, accurately and so knowledgeably with so much care and dedication put into it. The way the characters are written makes them incredibly real, make your mind join with them as you relate so deeply. You want to help them, you, learn of their struggles even on better days and how hard everything is inside their minds.

I read Asters, Good Right Things as an earc previously and loved and connected so much to that beautiful story and I did it again with this one. I loved the new path the story went on, I loved that we saw a different perspective and a new struggle to understand oneself and ones mental issues. I loved that Xavier had a dream and Aster jumped in so quickly to help with the dream, then so many people rallied to help too, to make it a reality. I loved that even as good things happened it showcased that it’s still hard to get out of a bad place mentally.

There is nothing to fault in a book like this, it’s raw, it’s deep, it’s realistic, it’s painful, it beautiful and vital. This is a kind of book that needs to be given to kids, to teachers and parents to ensure everyone understands mental health, to understand what is going through someone’s mind. I’m so happy that this book and it’s predecessor exist.

It’s a heartbreaking, realistic and incredibly well written important wonderful book.


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