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 everyone is an idiot.And Stella just doesn't want to be back for her second summer of wilderness therapy.As the five teens get to know one another and work to overcome the various disorders that have affected their lives, they find themselves forming bonds they never thought they would, discovering new truths about themselves and actually looking forward to the future."

Four Weeks, Five People Details

TitleFour Weeks, Five People
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMay 2nd, 2017
PublisherHarlequin Teen
ISBN0373212305
ISBN-139780373212309
Number of pages384 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Psychology, Young Adult Contemporary

Four Weeks, Five People Review

  • Brooke
    April 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!*
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  • Girlwithapen93
    February 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!
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  • Bayli Mohr
    April 18, 2017
    *I received this ARC from a goodreads givewayI 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 creation?) 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 givewayI 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 creation?) 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.
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  • Gina
    March 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.
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  • Kasey
    March 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.
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  • Shenwei
    May 4, 2017
    more like 4.5 but not enough to round up? Full review to come on my blog.I definitely saw pieces of myself in most of the characters and related strongly to the depictions of depression and anxiety. I was relieved and greatly appreciated that there was direct engagement with and debunking of the damaging ideas that a) romance will fix your mental illness or b) doing therapy camp will magically cure you and you won't have to struggle anymore after the fact.Since this deals very directly with ment more like 4.5 but not enough to round up? Full review to come on my blog.I definitely saw pieces of myself in most of the characters and related strongly to the depictions of depression and anxiety. I was relieved and greatly appreciated that there was direct engagement with and debunking of the damaging ideas that a) romance will fix your mental illness or b) doing therapy camp will magically cure you and you won't have to struggle anymore after the fact.Since this deals very directly with mental illness, your mileage may vary with how you react. For me personally, it was a mixture of triggering and cathartic throughout. I'll just list the appropriate content/trigger warnings here:-depression-anxiety-bipolar disorder-eating disorders/anorexia-narcissistic personality disorder-suicide-dissociation-panic attacks
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  • Caroline
    March 13, 2017
    This alternating point-of-view story, finds five teens at a wilderness therapy camp.A preview into the lives of teenagers struggling with mental health.
  • Veronica
    March 8, 2017
    I had really high hopes for this book. It started off great and was really engaging. I really liked that the character who has an eating disorder is a boy, that was a nice flip from the norm in YA books. However, the overall lack of character development as the story goes on (even though the book is 300+ pages long) prevents the reader from becoming truly engaged in the story and makes the climax of the story have very little impact.
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  • Trisha
    February 16, 2017
    Took me a while to read (mostly because of work).Some strong stuff about resilience and coping. And of course, sad stuff too.
  • Jen
    April 13, 2017
    Received an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.Told from multiple first person POVs, I found this method a little tough to bond with initially. Since each chapter is a different character, and there are five of them, it required a lot of going back to remind myself who was who at first.I found a few of the characters off-putting (Mason and Ben). Mason's disorder doesn't lend itself to a lot of sympathy from the reader, while I found the Ben POV frustrating to read. Andrew was a nice change from the n Received an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.Told from multiple first person POVs, I found this method a little tough to bond with initially. Since each chapter is a different character, and there are five of them, it required a lot of going back to remind myself who was who at first.I found a few of the characters off-putting (Mason and Ben). Mason's disorder doesn't lend itself to a lot of sympathy from the reader, while I found the Ben POV frustrating to read. Andrew was a nice change from the norm, being the one with an eating disorder. I really liked Stella and Clarisa (I do notice the back cover blurb misspelled the name as Clarissa ... ), but I found that Clarisa's OCD seemed to diminish to the point of almost non-existence as the book went on. I think Stella, having an anger based depression was a nice touch. So many depression portrayals are centered on sadness and not anger.It could be a hard book to read if you have mental health issues, as the characters do and say things that might hit close to home. I've seen a few reviews mentioning a lack of ending, but I think that's what I most liked - mental illness just doesn't end. Four weeks isn't going to radically change or cure anyone, and I liked that realism.
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  • Maggie Carr
    April 29, 2017
    ARC copy. The simple fact that I easily set this book aside mid-read over the course of a month while finishing others speaks for itself. I had to keep referring to the back-cover verbiage to remember what each chapter's narrator was afflicted with, mental and physical disorders. Maybe other readers will enjoy it more, it just wasn't for me.
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  • Ilyse Kramer
    May 2, 2017
    The depiction of therapy, therapists, Camp You Can Do, See, and eating disorders feels VERY inaccurate and irresponsible. Also all characters are super white and cis het.I agree with everyone's comments about lack of character development and resolution, and I find this especially troubling in the case of Mason because he is already a misogynist and narcissist, and potentially a future rapist--he's always touching Stella without her permission, which no one but Stella calls him out on! And he is The depiction of therapy, therapists, Camp You Can Do, See, and eating disorders feels VERY inaccurate and irresponsible. Also all characters are super white and cis het.I agree with everyone's comments about lack of character development and resolution, and I find this especially troubling in the case of Mason because he is already a misogynist and narcissist, and potentially a future rapist--he's always touching Stella without her permission, which no one but Stella calls him out on! And he is so callous and unemotional that I also felt he could be a psychopath. My favorite part was Andrew's references to Seattle's grunge scene, and that he had a gig at Cafe Racer, which I used to frequent since it's a few blocks from where I lived in the U District.
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  • Cambear
    March 30, 2017
    It's great to see a book which features characters with diverse mental health, but the basic premise has some issues for me and it fell flat.This wilderness therapy camp has dozens of kids and maybe 2 counsellors. We follow a group of 5 kids who seem to be randomly grouped together. They rarely do any activities related to therapy (a hike and a decorating project) so it's basically up to the mismatched kids to accidentally provide therapy for each other. They are remarkably insightful of others, It's great to see a book which features characters with diverse mental health, but the basic premise has some issues for me and it fell flat.This wilderness therapy camp has dozens of kids and maybe 2 counsellors. We follow a group of 5 kids who seem to be randomly grouped together. They rarely do any activities related to therapy (a hike and a decorating project) so it's basically up to the mismatched kids to accidentally provide therapy for each other. They are remarkably insightful of others, just not themselves. Yeah, this premise didn't work for me.It's great that the characters have a variety of conditions (anorexia, OCD, manic-depression, narcissism) and the book makes a point of saying they are staying away from some chiches, but that's not enough for me to recommend this book.Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of the book for review.
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  • Rachel Reinwald
    April 24, 2017
    See more of my reviews at www.litlaughlearn.comI was really excited about this book. I love reading the gritty and emotional books about teens with mental health problems. The first chapter for each character, basically the ones introducing them were my favorite parts. I like how they described themselves and seeing their thought processes. There were a lot of sentiments that I underlined and thought they sounded pretty authentic. Little did I know that it was all downhill from there.This is bas See more of my reviews at www.litlaughlearn.comI was really excited about this book. I love reading the gritty and emotional books about teens with mental health problems. The first chapter for each character, basically the ones introducing them were my favorite parts. I like how they described themselves and seeing their thought processes. There were a lot of sentiments that I underlined and thought they sounded pretty authentic. Little did I know that it was all downhill from there.This is basically your summer camp for mentally troubled teens and their camp counselors are real therapists. Clarissa has OCD and wants to have a normal experience to live up to her mom’s expectations (those expectations that never existed in the first place). Andrew has anorexia and wants to get better but also wants to stay a successful band member and doesn’t think he can have both. Ben has some kind of dissociative disorder and bipolar or both together and thinks he’s in a movie (although he really knows his isn’t so this isn’t an accurate portrayal). Mason is just a narcissist (read asshole), and I really have no idea if his disorder is portrayed accurately. Stella has depression and has survived a suicide attempt (although the book acts like she doesn’t really have a problem). All of your characters are pretty static. Nothing really changes other than Clarissa does do some normal things and stops counting trees. I would say she still has a long way to go and I don’t think it was any of the therapists that helped her improve at all. It just magically happened (which is unrealistic).Overall, therapy camp did nothing for any of them and messed one up even more. I feel like the main point of the book was that you just had to accept yourself because you weren’t really going to change, which actually isn’t true for the most part. The characters suddenly have deep connections to each other despite fighting almost the entire book unceremoniously and without plot or character development. I had no idea why they liked each other that much. That is not realistic either, especially given how their interactions were written. Other than therapy camp being ineffective, so was the plot. There was no real problem or solution for any of them in the plot. The big problem was that they all had “problems.” But none of that was solved or developed and there were no subplots to move it along or show progress. Clarissa having a crush on Ben was supposed to be a subplot, I think, but it also missed a story arc.But the biggest problem was the misappropriation of the different disorders. It surely has already upset a bunch of reviewers on Goodreads. But we would also give the general public the wrong idea about what each of these disorders is and how to treat them. First, Andrew would not be the nicest one, he would probably be the meanest. When you have anorexia, even if you’re trying to get better, there is still a lot of denial and lashing out at people trying to help. There is a lot more self-absorption. Many of these disorders are so self-involved that the person with them barely has time to pay attention to others and their drama. This is definitely true for bipolar and anorexia and depression for the most part. I think the author could have rounded out Mason to be a more full, authentic and interesting character. Mayo Clinic says that part of Narcissistic personality disorder is “you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability, and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.” It would be interesting to see more into his character and have him process some of that insecurity or some event he was remembering being ashamed of or some vulnerability. But there was nothing, so he might as well have not existed as a main character.This is what Ben was supposed to have, I believe, on top of the author saying he was bipolar too: “Depersonalization-derealization disorder. This involves an ongoing or episodic sense of detachment or being outside yourself — observing your actions, feelings, thoughts and self from a distance as though watching a movie (depersonalization). Other people and things around you may feel detached and foggy or dreamlike, time may be slowed down or sped up, and the world may seem unreal (derealization). You may experience depersonalization, derealization or both. Symptoms, which can be profoundly distressing, may last only a few moments or come and go over many years.” Ben was not bothered by his detachment. And he was still in movie-mode by the end of the book, so nothing happened with him. And in the book, he said he was ok with visualizing his life as a movie, but then he also lived things in the present tense with no reflection of depersonalizing, which according to the symptoms, should have bothered him a lot. And the only mood swings I could find in Ben was the difference between everything being “amazing” and “beautiful” to ignoring Clarissa. This is not bipolar. It’s basically an insult to bipolar people by minimalizing their issues.So, I would be really surprised if the author had any of these problems or did anything more than just Google what she thought these disorders were. I was able to read the book well enough, but I kept waiting for a realization or plot or more of the introspection from the first few pages and never found it. The author did do a good job of alternating voice and writing style between each chapter. Each chapter was narrated by a different character. Overall, though, this book was unsatisfying and kind of disturbing that the author thinks this is an authentic book. I hope teens don’t buy into this false representation.
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  • Kelsey Morrison
    April 25, 2017
    Camp Ugunduzi is a wilderness camp for troubled teens. They council all types of disorders, from OCD to eating disorders, to manic depressive behaviors; for four weeks every summer. This summer you will follow five campers; Sierra, Andrew, Mason, Clarissa, and Ben, as they navigate through their experiences of camp. Each experience is very different as they are told through alternating points of view and disorders. This books is different than most books out today--in a good way. Believable char Camp Ugunduzi is a wilderness camp for troubled teens. They council all types of disorders, from OCD to eating disorders, to manic depressive behaviors; for four weeks every summer. This summer you will follow five campers; Sierra, Andrew, Mason, Clarissa, and Ben, as they navigate through their experiences of camp. Each experience is very different as they are told through alternating points of view and disorders. This books is different than most books out today--in a good way. Believable characters and conditions that get into some less than believable situations. Recovery is such an important topic that needs to be touched on more in the Young adult genre. I would like to see a follow up to check in with the characters after they went home!
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