How to Make Friends with the Dark: A story about grief that needs to be heard.

How to make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow book cover
Here is what happens when your mother dies. It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart. That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone. Here…

Non-Spoiler Review 

I received this e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I seriously just finished this book and I'm having a hard time to put all my thoughts into words. How to Make Friends with the Dark is a book about deep, deep grief that needs to be read. I knew, going into this book that it was going to be sad and I would most likely cry, but what I didn't know, was how it was going to leave such an impression on my heart. 

We follow Grace "Tiger" Tolliver, a 16-year-old girl who only has her mother and a handful of friends. She lives a somewhat normal teenage life. She deals with crap at school with bullies but has the coolest best friend. All she wants to do is kiss the boy she likes and who she thinks likes her back.  She has a super overprotective mother who hardly lets her do anything, but her mother is all she has, so she is fine with it. She doesn't have a lot of food, and gets all of her clothes from thrift stores, but is okay with that, because she has her mom. But what happens when her fun-loving mom is taken away from her by death? Unspeakable grief. 

We now follow Tiger through her grief. Having to figure out who she is going to live with. Staying with complete strangers. And trying to figure out who the heck she is without her mom. It was a hard book to get through at times. In the head of someone who has so much grief, it is overwhelming her. But I really loved Tiger. She is a super strong character, even throughout all that has happened.

I felt like this book was so eye-opening to a world I don 't know personally. Kathleen Glasglow definitely has a with words. She makes you fall in love with all these amazing characters and feel exactly how they feel.

I will say that although this book had a lot of sad parts, there are hopeful parts as well. I recommend this book to everyone, especially those who are dealing with grief. Also, I recommend you read the Author Notes, they are super good.  

Thank you, Kathleen, for writing this amazing, heart-wrenching, story for us! 

 

Character Love 

Tiger ~ I loved everything about Tiger. For someone who has been through so much, she could have turned out so much worse. She was strong, and still had love in her even after everything. There was so much growth in her character as well. Kathleen did such an awesome job with this amazing character. 

Cake ~ I absolutely loved Cake. She is the ultimate best friend. Cake was always there for Tiger no matter what. She pretty much but Tiger before everything, even things that were important to her. Cake may have had a different life than Tiger's but I am so glad they were best friends like they were. 

Thaddeus ~ I don't want to say too much about Thaddeus, because... spoilers, but I really liked him. I thought he was a great character and a great person for Tiger to meet. I'm so glad he was in this book.

Tiger's Mom ~ Throughout the book we learn more and more about Tiger's mother and I'm so glad that we do. Tiger loved her mother, but I do feel like she was seriously overprotective. And not in a healthy way. But do love their relationship. 

Kai ~ What to say about Kai. Well, I liked him a lot in the beginning. He was a really good friend to Tiger, and almost more than that. 

 

Spoilery Review

 

Spoilers Ahead

 

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Man, there is so much to say about this book. There were times I couldn't even put it down to write notes, so hopefully, they make sense! I really really enjoyed this book so much! Here we go...

  • Tiger is obviously super close to her mom. I was so curious what her mom was dealing with, because she seemed so out of it in the beginning, and they are so super poor. Drugs were my first thought, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  • I cannot imagine if my mom got me a dress like that, but I still couldn't believe what she told her, but I totally got why. Her mom is way too overprotective. And that's coming from an overprotective mom. 
  • I absolutely loved the reference to Fault in Our Stars. I loved that book so much! 
  • Here, mom, dying was horrible. And I really hated it for her because her last conversation with her mom was so bad. I hated that she had to be taken into custody by the state. I was so scared for her. 
  • Karen letting Tiger go stay with Cake for that first night made me so happy.  
  • I love that those first 2 girls helped her. I was nervous that they would be really mean to her. The foster lady was crazy though.
  • I was so dang glad that Karen came. Part of me wondered if she really would because I didn't really just love Karen at first. I love that Tiger gave that one girl a few of her shirts. 
  • I really liked Lala. She seemed like a really good person that could handle the situation at hand. 
  • I kept wondering where the boy was. I really loved the 2 littles though. 
  • Tiger yelling at Kai made me sad. He shouldn't have left, and I know she was super mad at him, but really, she shouldn't have taken everything out on him. I really hated that she did that. 
  • Tiger having to deal with the funeral arrangements were horrible. 
  • Equally horrible was her having to go to that viewing. Obviously, she was going to go but that had to be so hard for her. And she is still wearing that dress. I totally got why she was, but I can't imagine how bad it was starting to look or how it was starting to smell. 
  • I was still super worried about the boy we haven't met yet. But once she met Thaddeus and we heard his story I thought he was going to be so good for her. And after hearing his story from Leonard, totally broke my heart. I couldn't even imagine what some of these foster kids deal with. What a scary situation. 
  • Oh my goodness. Leonard leaving broke my heart in a million pieces. Gosh, how does anyone even deal with that? These poor kids. I can't even imagine. 
  • I totally had a feeling that the dad thing wouldn't work out. It was too good to be true.
  • What?!?!?! She has a sister!!!! I honestly didn't blame her for being mad at her mom.
  • I really loved how close Tiger and Thaddeus became. Cake coming over and getting to meet everyone was so awesome. I was so sad that she would end up leaving Lala.
  • I honestly wasn't sure about Shayna at first. She didn't seem like she could take care of herself let alone her little sister that had issues. 
  • I wished Tiger didn't' get mad at Cake. Cake is an amazing friend. 
  • I was so glad that they got that stupid girl. I love how Shayna came in and totally stuck up for Tiger with proof and all. That made me bawl like a baby. It was perfect for real. 
  • I still wished Kai would understand her a tad more.
  • I really wanted to know more about Shayna. Who is this Ray guy? It doesn't seem good.  
  • I really missed Lala, Thaddeus, Sarah, and Leonard. I really hoped they got to see each other again. 
  • So sad that Tiger panics when Shayna leaves. I was so curious to know where she was going. 
  • I was so ready to know Tiger's mothers past.
  • Wow, so much has happened. I'm so glad that she went to the grief group! And wow, I knew that Mae might be in it, but not the twins and definitely not Lupe. I loved that they now have each other. 
  • I hated hat her and Shayna seemed so weird. 
  • By this time, Tiger seems to be doing so well. It made me super happy. I was so scared about the fact that Shayna wanted to take her away from the farm early. 
  • Wow. That scene when Tiger comes home to the house a mess a Ray there. What the crud. All I could think was that they were probably on some crazy drugs. 
  • The whole thing was so sad. Tiger probably thinks Shayna didn't come for her because she really didn't want her. But I don't think I believed that. But Shayna was so different with Ray there. I loved that Tiger tried to help her. 
  • Oh my, the whole scene with Tiger and Lupe. I loved that they kind of connected but I hated that they wrecked that truck and now they are going to Juvy. 
  • I really liked Teddy. There need to be more people like her in the world. 
  • My heart hurt so much for Tiger because Thaddeus was leaving but I loved why he was. He wants to take care of his sister and Leonard! Made my heart so happy. 
  • I seriously busted out crying right along with Tiger when she saw Shayna. 
  • I loved their new plan, even though it involves moving, which makes me super sad for Tiger. 
  • The obituary scene was so so sad. 
  • Tiger and Lupe's friendship is the best. Who knew that would ever happen. 
  • I loved that she got a chance to speak with her dad.
  • I seriously didn't even think twice about the "letter" that might have been left by her mom. So sad. Hearing her mom's life and that whole thing with her touching her face was sad.
  • I'm glad she and Lupe are going to the meeting and Shayna is going to AA. I love that they have dinner together afterward. 
  • When I read the Obituary I seriously bawled my eyes out. What a perfect ending. 
 

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