May 2013, MacMillan, 336 pages, Paperback, Review copy, short 'n' sweet review
Summary from Macmillan
During the summer of her GCSEs Kite's world falls apart. Her best friend, Dawn, commits suicide after a long struggle with feeling under pressure to achieve. Kite's dad takes her to the Lake District, to give her time and space to grieve. In London Kite is a confident girl, at home in the noisy, bustling city, but in the countryside she feels vulnerable and disorientated. Kite senses Dawn's spirit around her and is consumed by powerful, confusing emotions - anger, guilt, sadness and frustration, all of which are locked inside. It's not until she meets local boy, Garth, that Kite begins to open up - talking to a stranger is easier somehow. Kite deeply misses her friend and would do anything to speak to Dawn just once more, to understand why . . . Otherwise how can she ever say goodbye?
I've had to review this book several months after I planned to, as it took me that long to read it. Similarly to Kite I've lost 1 friend to suicide a few years ago. We weren't best friends, not that it matters much as the result is the same. Not only that but a couple of years after that (still a few years ago!) another friend attempted suicide, and I was the one to find her. After a lot of counselling, and a few years, she's fine now, thankfully.
I honestly wasn't going to say the last paragraph, but somehow I feel I should. I'm not naming either friend - I don't even name myself or my own family online! - so all identities are safe. I started reading Kite's Spirit, and was shocked at how all the emotions came flooding back, taking me back to two of the saddest times of my life. I couldn't read any more of Kite's story, it was too much to deal with. I knew I'd read it eventually, and I'm so glad I did.
Kite suffers so much, and I dare anyone to read this without needing a tissue. There's such of maelstrom of emotions when a friend kills themself, and Sita is spot on for all of them. She has to have been for me to remember them all so clearly. I wanted to hug Kite tightly, to tell her that although it'll never be ok, happiness would return to her life again. Her family love her so much. I love her dad's idea of taking her away - although it was extremely problematic for a while, it was what she needed. His relationship with Kite made me cry because it's truly lovely how hard he tried to support her while she was pushing people away. It's a book I'll definitely read again, as the end is filled with hope of the future. As Kite learnt the outcome of suicide remains with those affected forever. If you're affected by it, it's not your fault. You may not believe that for a while, but it's true. It's not even the person's fault - they aren't thinking straight, and can't see any other way of coping. Please pass this book on to everyone you know, as everyone should read Kite's story as it is a comfort for anyone who has gone through a similar experience, and an encouragement for those finding themselves in a similar position to chat to people about their problems. (This isn't a short review exactly, but it doesn't have the themes part of my normal reviews).
Find out more on Sita's website.
For another teen who copes with suicide, check out Saving June by Hannah Harrington (Young Adult, 9/10)
(Having gone through 2 events similar to Kite it took me a long time to read it as it brought back so many emotions so I had to stop for several weeks, but it was worth it, especially with the end chapter)