I received an advanced copy of Stay Crazy from the author for review. Official release date is August 16, 2016.
To start off, I am not usually a sci-fi reader but when the genre crosses over with something that I can relate to, I am intrigued. When I saw that my friend and fellow zine writer, Erica Satifka, was coming out with her debut novel, I knew that I would be interested as her main character is a woman with mental illness.
Stay Crazy is the story of Emmeline Kalberg (Em), who has recently been released from a month in inpatient treatment for her schizophrenia and depression. In trying to adjust from being away at college, to the hospital and now back home with her single mother and younger sister, Em gets a job at the local small town western Pennsylvania box store, Savertown USA. Not long after being assigned as a stocker in the frozen foods department, Em hears a box of frozen chicken nuggets speaking to her. Turns out it is an interdimensional being called Escodex who is trying to save the folks at Savertown from evil creatures on his plane of existence. A plague of suicides comes over the store, and Em must decide how or even if to help Escodex save the world, while not letting people think this is her mental illness manifesting.
What I like about Em is that she is kind of a jerk. I like to have to try hard to find the redeeming qualities in characters. I have all the sympathy for Em’s illnesses but at the same time she’s overly sarcastic and dismissive to her coworkers, family, doctors… everyone. However, she’s whip smart and creative and even with Escodex bribing her, I think she really does want to save humanity despite feeling foolish speaking to RFID tags in Savertown USA products.
You can order Stay Crazy through Apex Publications or at that big box store of Internet-town USA.
Erica wrote a great guest blog post over at The Bathroom Monologues if you are interested in learning a bit more about her and why she wrote a hero with a psychotic disorder.