Book Reviews Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Existence Of Amy by Lana Grace Riva – Book Review

Disclosure: I was kindly gifted this book by the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own.

Paperback copy of The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

I was delighted when Lana Grace Riva contacted me to ask if I would like to read and review her book, The Existence Of Amy. Of course, I said yes! The book revolves around mental health, which is a relevant topic to me, having experienced anxiety.

Related post: Anticipatory Anxiety, and How to Make it Go Away

When I received the book in the post, my first impression was that the cover is quite plain. It would have been more eye-catching if it had a picture on the front. However, I did love the velvety, almost rubbery feel of the cover – it is a satisfying material to touch.

What is The Existence Of Amy about?

The Existence Of Amy is a fiction book written from the perspective of Amy, a woman who appears to have a normal life on the surface, but who is actually struggling with quite severe OCD and sometimes also depression. The story follows her daily life through the good days and the bad. It describes how her mental health struggles affect her life, work and relationships.

I won’t give away any more specific details about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for you! But there are themes of friendship, love and hope, which balance the darker themes of struggling and despair.

What is it like to read?

The point of this book is to depict what it is like to have mental illnesses. However, there is a sweet story behind it that is enjoyable in itself. It’s not exactly a cliff-hanger but the plot is engaging enough that I wanted to carry on reading it and find out what happened.

I could relate to quite a few of Amy’s experiences. I found myself thinking, ‘Goodness, that is me!’ in several parts. There were other parts that I didn’t relate to so much, but everyone is different so will relate to different things.

I don’t know if this was deliberate, but I like that Amy’s age, appearance or background are never described (nor those of the other characters). This way, you can imagine them as yourself or as people you know. This makes it even more relatable.

The book is set out in short sentences, paragraphs and chapters. I liked this because it broke the text up into small chunks and made it quick and easy to read. The font is quite big as well. I managed to read the whole book in less than two days, and it could easily be read within a day if you have 2-3 hours to spare.

There is occasional bad spelling and grammar in this book. Personally, I didn’t mind this because I still understood the meaning. However, it did give off a vibe of not having been proofread very well. Maybe this will be corrected in future editions!

Paperback copy of The Existence Of Amy, laid on a flowery throw. A mug is placed next to it.

Would I recommend The Existence of Amy?

If you experience mental health issues yourself, such as OCD, depression or anxiety, this will definitely be a book you can relate to, at least in part. However, I recommend that you exercise caution if you feel that this book may trigger you in any way. I found that reading about Amy’s struggles reminded me of mine and made me feel a little anxious. Therefore I would suggest reading it on a day when you are in a strong state of mind.

I don’t regret reading this book because it also made me feel that I am not alone in experiencing these things. It also demonstrated that in general, people really do care about your wellbeing, even if you don’t think that they would.

Even if you don’t suffer from mental health issues yourself, I would still recommend this book especially if you know someone in your life who does. Reading this book will help raise awareness and understanding of what goes on inside the heads of people with mental health issues so that you can better help and support them.

You can find The Existence of Amy on Goodreads or buy it on Amazon.

I would rate this book 4 out of 5!

4 stars
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The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva - Book Review

26 Comments

  1. I will surely give it a read! I am an advocate for mental health, I will surely recommend this to others too!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you, I hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

  2. Lovely recommendation. I will 100% consider it x

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I hope you enjoy it if you do read it x

  3. 4/5 is an amazing scoring!! Defo worth a read then!! I shall put it on my wish list <3

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I hope you enjoy it if you do read it! ❤️

  4. Great review! It sounds like a very interesting book. I’ll have to check it out!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I recommend it especially if you’re interested in the topic of mental health 😊

  5. Such a great review. I love reading books that you can relate to the story in some way and this sounds like it does just that.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! It sounds like you would really like this book, then 😊

  6. Honestly, fiction is not my thing but I have always wondered about it. I mean, I should try and give it a read but who knows, I might like it. Right?

    Also, I love the psychological effect to it. Great review, Sophie! 🙂 Thank you.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’d say it’s definitely worth a try. I used to think that reading fiction was a waste of time and I would stick to non-fiction books. But I’ve realised that we can learn a lot from fiction books too, especially when they have a message behind them, as this one does.

  7. I read this last year and it was a 4/5 for me too. I really enjoyed how realistic the dive into mental health was, especially with Amy’s internal battle. And despite the fact it’s a heavier subject it’s not difficult to read. Great review!

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I agree, it was a realistic depiction of mental illness, but was still a light and easy read!

  8. This sounds like an interesting read. Such a great recommendation! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      You’re welcome! 😊

  9. I love this recommendation. I had never heard of it before but I would love to take a look now!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I hope you enjoy it, if you do decide to give it a read!

  10. I love the sound of this! I find it so interesting when a main character has a mental illness that we’re able to see from their point of view. I think John Green did this well in Turtles All the Way Down, as that MC had OCD. I’d definitely going to look out for this one!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I agree, it explains mental illness better than a non-fiction book could! I will add that John Green book to my TBR list, it sounds interesting!

  11. Sounds like a really interesting read, love that there’s loads of books about now to help raise awareness of these mental health issues!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I agree, it’s a great way to raise awareness!

  12. Mental health is very important and I’m glad a lot of people are writing about it, whether in fiction or non-fiction books. We need to raise more awareness about it. The Existence of Amy sounds very interesting and sounds like something I’d enjoy reading.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I agree! Fiction is a great way to raise awareness, and in general, it’s easier to read than non-fiction. I hope you enjoy this book if you decide to read it!

  13. Lana Grace Riva also gifted me a copy of this book, but I haven’t been able to read it yet with everything that has been going on. I enjoyed reading what you thought of the book & I’m looking forward to reading it even more!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      It took me a little while to get round to reading it too, these have been surprisingly busy times. I’m glad you enjoyed my review, and I hope you enjoy the book when you read it!

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