Adele is struggling. She takes medicine for her diagnosed schizophrenia, which both her mother and her grandmother had as well. Adele has been on the medication since she was young and a few weeks ago, she forgot to take one of her pills at night. The next day she felt so awake! It seemed that she’d been sleeping through life while on her medication. She’s paying attention in class and actually answering questions, she’s interacting with other students at school…and so she decides to not take her medicine that next night as well. She’s now been two weeks without her meds, and she feels great.
Until she takes her normal short cut home though the park on Monday after school. That’s when her hallucinations begin again. Or so she thinks. After all, that was why she started taking the medication. Because she would see things that no one else could see.
In the park she sees Tori. A girl she used to be good friends with, long ago in elementary school, but who just on Saturday night, screamed at Adele to leave the party at Tori’s house. So what is Tori doing here in the park, in the dress she wore to her party on Saturday night? And why is she talking to Adele like it is no big deal that she’s sitting in the park and not wondering why she’s there? Adele gets a sick feeling that she is seeing Tori because Tori is actually dead.
The Lonely Dead by April Henry is not only a ghost and mystery story, but it brings up the larger issue of mental health, questioning if people who have been diagnosed simply see things that others don’t. Adele must figure out how to navigate this world she now thinks she can be a part of, and yet still try to keep the people who are important to her, in her life.
Recommended for grades 7 and up.