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On a Scale of One to Ten

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Tamar is admitted to Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. Lime Grove is home to a number of teenagers with a variety of problems: anorexia, bipolar disorder, behavior issues. Tamar will come to know them all very well. But there's one question she can't... won't answer: What happened to her friend Iris? As Tamar's emotional angst becomes more and more clear to Tamar is admitted to Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. Lime Grove is home to a number of teenagers with a variety of problems: anorexia, bipolar disorder, behavior issues. Tamar will come to know them all very well. But there's one question she can't... won't answer: What happened to her friend Iris? As Tamar's emotional angst becomes more and more clear to her, she'll have to figure out a path to forgiveness. A shocking, moving, and darkly funny depiction of life in a psychiatric world. A stunning journey of one girl's mental illness and the redemptive power of truth and healing.


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Tamar is admitted to Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. Lime Grove is home to a number of teenagers with a variety of problems: anorexia, bipolar disorder, behavior issues. Tamar will come to know them all very well. But there's one question she can't... won't answer: What happened to her friend Iris? As Tamar's emotional angst becomes more and more clear to Tamar is admitted to Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. Lime Grove is home to a number of teenagers with a variety of problems: anorexia, bipolar disorder, behavior issues. Tamar will come to know them all very well. But there's one question she can't... won't answer: What happened to her friend Iris? As Tamar's emotional angst becomes more and more clear to her, she'll have to figure out a path to forgiveness. A shocking, moving, and darkly funny depiction of life in a psychiatric world. A stunning journey of one girl's mental illness and the redemptive power of truth and healing.

30 review for On a Scale of One to Ten

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emma Giordano

    2.5 stars. I started out REALLY loving this book but unfortunately, my fondness fizzled out by the end. I think it’s a fair book about mental illness, but a lot was lacking for me. TW: borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, suicide, self-harm, eating disorders I took an issue with the writing style of this novel. It felt very amateur and underdeveloped. The dialogue was fairly weak which make character interactions feel less genuine. Tamar’s inner monologue was a high point compared 2.5 stars. I started out REALLY loving this book but unfortunately, my fondness fizzled out by the end. I think it’s a fair book about mental illness, but a lot was lacking for me. TW: borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, suicide, self-harm, eating disorders I took an issue with the writing style of this novel. It felt very amateur and underdeveloped. The dialogue was fairly weak which make character interactions feel less genuine. Tamar’s inner monologue was a high point compared to the rest of the writing. I believe this is a debut and the author is actually younger than myself so this isn’t surprising. I don’t want to say it’s “bad”, but I feel there is a lot of area for improvement with the author’s technique. I also struggled a bit with the plot as the novel progressed. As it follows a girl in a psychiatric hospital, I felt like the freedom patients have stretched the boundaries of reality. I fully recognize that many inpatient facilities are not adequately staffed and can, at times be almost neglectful of patient needs and safety, but some occurrences were a little farfetched. Multiple patients escape multiple times throughout the story, and while it’s common practice in some hospitals to allow patients home leave for a few nights, I’m skeptical of a person so recently on suicide watch being able to attend a party with alcohol unsupervised (or at all). I understand this is fiction and authors reserve the right to play with practicalities, but as someone who has also experienced life in mandatory hospitalization, it’s hard for me to pass by these things. I did enjoy Tamar as a main character. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to know her more outside of her mental health issues – I think that would have benefitted her character development. I somewhat resonated with her journey in recovering from a mental illness and appreciated the authenticity the author brought to the story. I can’t speak for how accurately borderline personality disorder is portrayed in this story, but it is written by an author living with the same condition. In my experiences, I feel this novel is an extremely truthful narrative of what it is like to live with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I will admit, I do wish more attention was given to how BPD manifests within Tamar (the story is mostly about Tamar’s mental health issues in general as the doctor’s haven’t given her a diagnosis and BPD is only mentioned at the very end) but that’s not to say that her symptoms go unacknowledged. I would strongly advise people with issues of self-harm and suicidality to maybe stay away from this novel until you are in a healthier mindset, as some of the imagery can be intensely graphic at times. Overall, I just wish this book was more developed. I wish the writing was more expansive and descriptive. I wish there was more expansion on Tamar’s life with BPD, and her life outside of her illness. I wish the side characters were more three-dimensional. I wish the story has documented Tamar’s journey with recovery more, instead of just taking on a message of hope at the end. I think it was a fair mental health novel for those who are looking for more stories like this (especially since it’s one of the only young adult books out there with a character with BPD) but it did not “WOW” me in the way I was expecting. I wanted a lot from this book and it just didn’t deliver in some aspects. I received a copy of this book from the Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus

    Some words of warning before I tell you anything else: I expect some people whose experiences resemble its themes will find understanding and a sense that they’re not alone if they read this book. Others may be triggered by its contents so please, please do not read this book if you’re not in a good place psychologically. I know that Iris is dead. I know that it was sudden and so shocking that the waves of horror shimmered in the distance for months afterward. I also know that it is my fault, Some words of warning before I tell you anything else: I expect some people whose experiences resemble its themes will find understanding and a sense that they’re not alone if they read this book. Others may be triggered by its contents so please, please do not read this book if you’re not in a good place psychologically. I know that Iris is dead. I know that it was sudden and so shocking that the waves of horror shimmered in the distance for months afterward. I also know that it is my fault, that one second she was there and her heart pumped crimson blood through her veins, and the next she was gone, blood frozen solid, and I could have prevented it, but I did not. Tamar has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital as a result of a recent suicide attempt and history of self harm. She feels overwhelming guilt over the death of her friend, Iris, a death she is certain she is responsible for. During her time at Lime Grove she meets other adolescents who are similarly dealing with mental health issues, ranging from eating disorders to bipolar and psychosis. Tamar’s internal turmoil feels authentic, likely because, although the story is fiction, its author shares her main character’s diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Although this character’s behaviour does seem to tick many of the borderline personality disorder boxes, it isn’t until near the end that this is even mentioned and it’s never actually explained to Tamar on page. Hats off to the author for tackling subject matter so close to home at such a young age though. I don’t know if this story is reflective of what psychiatric hospitals in England are like in general, or anywhere for that matter, although in the Author’s Note she does mention an admission when she was a teen but I was appalled by the lack of security measures. The patients could easily escape and bring prohibited items into the hospital. The staff appeared to be a blend of people simply waiting for their next pay check and those who sincerely wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of their patients. The psychiatrist’s seemingly narrow view of what constitutes self harm allowed Tamar’s behaviour during an overnight home visit to be glossed over rather than addressed. There’s a huge difference between empathy and applauding obvious self harm behaviour simply because someone used a different method than they normally would. This psychiatrist didn’t even recognise what she did as self harm on that occasion. Although I would have loved knowing what eventually became of invincible Elle and some of the others Tamar met at Lime Grove it felt more authentic to not have that resolution. In that kind of setting I expect it would be more unusual to have the blanks filled in. While Elle and Jasper became real to me most of the other characters felt two dimensional, even Iris. The teens at Lime Grove felt like the usual suspects in a psychiatric patient setting, with little to differentiate them from their diagnoses. Given how young the author is I expect their background characters will become more memorable and fleshed out in future books. I admit that I initially picked up this book because I (wrongly) assumed the title foretold a story about chronic pain/illness, something I’m unfortunately very familiar with. I detest the “rate your ‘whatever’ on a scale of 1 to 10” question for its subjectivity and lack of real meaning. Seriously, what’s a 7 for me may be a 2 or 10 for you and if you asked me the same question tomorrow I may have just received great news; my symptoms that I reported as a 7 yesterday may generate a response of 4 today. Because of my interest in mental health I decided to read this book anyway and am glad I did but it has resulted in my ‘1 to 10 scale’ disdain growing to encompass mental health as well as physical. I couldn’t help making comparisons between this story and Girl Interrupted - the movie because I haven’t read it yet. (I know! The book will be better!) The escape and subsequent hitchhiking, the main characters with the same diagnosis and the parallels between Elle in this book and Lisa in Girl felt eerily similar. I’d be hesitant to recommend this book to anyone, mostly because I wouldn’t know what thoughts or feelings it may trigger in the reader. There are scenes in this book that could easily be viewed as lessons in how to self destruct more efficiently and for people who are already vulnerable in those areas it could be dangerous. Content warnings include death by suicide, mention of death by overdose, graphic self harm, bullying, eating disorders, mental health, suicidal ideation and attempts. If you are struggling with depression, addiction, self harm or suicide To Write Love on Her Arms is a great resource for information - https://twloha.com. There’s also a Help page where you can search for contact details of resources in your country.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Garance J. Bonadonna (The Nerdy Artivist)

    I did not like this book. At first it was pretty good. I liked the writing, liked the mystery behind what had happened to the main character before she got into the psychiatric hospital. I liked that she talked about a monster inside her. Here's what bothered me. To me, it was clear that Tamar self harmed and had suicidal thoughts because she had PTSD. First because she was bullied, second because her friend died. But at the very end of the book, the author is like "Oh no, all along, they were I did not like this book. At first it was pretty good. I liked the writing, liked the mystery behind what had happened to the main character before she got into the psychiatric hospital. I liked that she talked about a monster inside her. Here's what bothered me. To me, it was clear that Tamar self harmed and had suicidal thoughts because she had PTSD. First because she was bullied, second because her friend died. But at the very end of the book, the author is like "Oh no, all along, they were just triggers, I was ill before that, I have BPD." No. I have BPD. This is not what BPD feels like. BPD is having extreme fear of abandonment (the character barely talks about the fact that her father has given up on her), it's having extreme emotions both positive and negative (she is severly depressed the entire book), it's having extreme mood swings. She doesn't have any. I was also intensely annoyed by the quirky sides of the other characters. Oh, we're in a PH but we all have our weird habits that makes us loveable. No. I have been to a psychiatric hospital. The weird habits caused by mental illnesses are not fun or loveable. The caretakers, nurses and psychiatrists usually just don't care. And finally, the author creates a character, who's clearly a bully and pushed someone to kill herself and the other one to self harm and attempt suicide, she even goes to the hospital JUST to harass her, and nothing is done about it. I was bullied and rejected and let me tell you, it's all you think about when you have BPD because your brain makes you think they're right about you. The main characters barely talks about her a few times and pretends everything is normal. The bully is not punished or pointed at. What about teenagers who get bullied and read this book? They learn to shut up. And this is why bullying at school continues and no one suffering from it speaks about it. This is all wrong. Twice Tamar shows characteristics of BPD. She gets extremely angry and violent, and at the very end she repeats to herself that everyone hates her. It comes out of nowhere. And then the next page she's all like "Ouh I'm not cured but I'm alive and I run and I have a boyfriend". The character doesnt evolve in one way or the other until the last three pages. WTF? No, when you have BPD, every time you meet someone, your brain tells you they hate you and then your mood changes and you cling to them and then your mood changes and you push them away, all in one day. This is not an accurate representation of mental illnesses. This is a pale copy of Girl, Interrupted. This feels like the book was written by someone way too young, who wanted to put way too much of herself in it without thinking about plot holes, character development or anything that has to do with writing. This book is all wrong. I'm giving it one star for the writing style of the beginning. I do not recommend. Read Under Rose Tainted Skies instead. Or Every Last Word. Or Eliza and her Monsters. Or even Optimists Die First. Read Speak for Christ's sakes. And even Fangirl which has an accurate depiction of social anxiety. Don't read this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    I’ve read a lot of books about mental health and this is by the best, the most realistic, the most compelling. As someone who has spent time in CAMHS inpatient units, I was impressed beyond words. It’s hard to get it right when it comes to mental health. All too often with the portrayal of inpatient units we get either the hellhole with tyrannical staff or the rosy summer camp type. Scott gets it exactly right with the inevitable bad but the surprising and heart warming good. I laughed, I cried. I’ve read a lot of books about mental health and this is by the best, the most realistic, the most compelling. As someone who has spent time in CAMHS inpatient units, I was impressed beyond words. It’s hard to get it right when it comes to mental health. All too often with the portrayal of inpatient units we get either the hellhole with tyrannical staff or the rosy summer camp type. Scott gets it exactly right with the inevitable bad but the surprising and heart warming good. I laughed, I cried. My heart broke and the story pieces it back together again. This is a story about mental health but also about youth, about love, about life. And you can feel the realness of it seeping through every single page. 10/10 I’ll be urging all my friends and family to read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    1.5 STARS In England, Tamar is hospitalized after a suicide attempt, borderline personality disorder, possible psychosis and a history of self-injury following her best friend Iris’s suicide. Tamar thinks she murdered her friend, convinced her to jump into the river that took her life. In the psych hospital, she befriends other patients who have no interest in recovering from their various ailments (think Lisa from Girl Interrupted). I had a difficult time caring about Tamar, because she purposely 1.5 STARS In England, Tamar is hospitalized after a suicide attempt, borderline personality disorder, possible psychosis and a history of self-injury following her best friend Iris’s suicide. Tamar thinks she murdered her friend, convinced her to jump into the river that took her life. In the psych hospital, she befriends other patients who have no interest in recovering from their various ailments (think Lisa from Girl Interrupted). I had a difficult time caring about Tamar, because she purposely did not engage in treatment and lied to her doctor and nurses about almost everything. I understand resistance, but debut writer Ceylan Scott rarely showed Tamar work with, not against her psychiatrist. She accidentally is honest about her feelings, etc. Scott’s characters seemed straight out of central casting from every YA book set in a psych hospital as did the plot. The quality of the writing felt uninspired, not bad, just not special. The plot mirrored GIRL INTERRUPTED nearly identically. Because Tamar was an unreliable narrator due to her particular mental health issues that included some delusions, I never felt like we had the full story about her friendship with Iris, the reliability of Mia and Iris’s suicide. ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN adds nothing new or original to the spectrum of YA mental health books. I think it will speak to teens struggling. I do worry that some romancing of the psych hospital experience, not because ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN is all sunshine and roses, but because in this book, the difficulties feel more like escapades.

  6. 5 out of 5

    leonie

    this is the most realistic book on mental health especially BPD and suicide i’ve read and doesn’t romanticize anything! my favorite quote: “toby helps, but he isn’t my cure. there isn’t a cure. except me: i am the cure.” please consider reading this

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    3.5 I had received this book as an ARC by Scholastic Public in return for an honest review. This is the author’s debut novel. And surprisingly, I found her writing to be very matured and well-off. Before you read the book, just know that the book has several trigger warnings like anorexia, BPD, suicide attempts, self-harm etc. I think I was able to understand whatever the character was trying to propagate. There were a few humor attempts made, that made me smile. But so many parts of the book 3.5 I had received this book as an ARC by Scholastic Public in return for an honest review. This is the author’s debut novel. And surprisingly, I found her writing to be very matured and well-off. Before you read the book, just know that the book has several trigger warnings like anorexia, BPD, suicide attempts, self-harm etc. I think I was able to understand whatever the character was trying to propagate. There were a few humor attempts made, that made me smile. But so many parts of the book warmed my heart. Over-all it was a good read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zazie Lawson

    Honestly the most realistic account of BPD I've ever read. Has made people close to me reconsider their views on mental health and be far more understanding of and empathetic to my struggles. Thank you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Em The Reading Challenge Challenge

    “There isn’t a cure. Except me: I am the cure.” Nobody believes her but Tamar killed a girl. The guilt of what she did has clawed its way into her brain and she has taken it out on herself. After attempting suicide, Tamar is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she must find a way to reconcile with the fact of being alive. She must fight back against the darkness or else let it consume her completely. A lot of other reviews of this book talk a lot about the weird depiction of Tamar’s “There isn’t a cure. Except me: I am the cure.” Nobody believes her but Tamar killed a girl. The guilt of what she did has clawed its way into her brain and she has taken it out on herself. After attempting suicide, Tamar is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she must find a way to reconcile with the fact of being alive. She must fight back against the darkness or else let it consume her completely. A lot of other reviews of this book talk a lot about the weird depiction of Tamar’s borderline personality disorder or the representation of the psychiatric hospital. I don’t have any experience with either of those things so I’m not even going to try to comment on their accuracy or authenticity. But Tamar’s pain and her despair and her guilt all felt so true. The way Tamar thinks about her illness - the way she lets it consume her, the way she hides it, the way she internalises everything - that part felt realistic. How it fits into diagnostic criteria I have no idea but it made her so vivid to me. I think what really helped with that was how afraid she was to get better. From opening up to her psychiatrist to having stitches after self-harming. That fear felt primal and it bled off the page. It’s so hard to let people into your head and into your illness and Ceylan Scott depicted that trepidation with such effect and eloquence. What I think I liked most about this book was that it avoids most of the YA mental illness clichés. The entire time I was waiting for Tamar to fall in love with one of the male characters - she doesn’t. I was waiting for someone to touch her scars without permission and tell her they were beautiful - they didn’t. I was waiting for one of the other patients to die to inspire Tamar to stay alive for them - none of them did. This book shows the brutality of recovery and doesn’t try to sugarcoat it but also remains so hopeful. I would say that is this book’s biggest strength - its unwillingness to leave the characters hopeless. All of them are better at the end than they are at the start, whether they’re “cured” or not. As someone who has struggled with mental illness for ten years and will probably struggle with it for the remainder of their life, I greatly appreciated the hopefulness of On A Scale of One to Ten. Gritty and grim, lucid and lyrical, this is a lovely book that tells a realistic story of coming to terms with mental illness and finding a way to keep moving through life. Warnings: Graphic self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, mania, depression, paranoia, anxiety, side character with psychotic symptoms, set in a psychiatric hospital, use of p*ycho and similar words.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fabulous Book Fiend

    This book comes with some serious trigger warnings so make sure you're aware of the content before picking this one up and the back suggests trying page 3 to get a taste of what the book is about, I think it's a pretty good representation of what's inside so definitely give that a go too. Obviously this book deals with the subject of suicide and all aspects of mental health. Tamar is convince that she does not deserve to be in this world any longer and is willing to go to extreme measure to make This book comes with some serious trigger warnings so make sure you're aware of the content before picking this one up and the back suggests trying page 3 to get a taste of what the book is about, I think it's a pretty good representation of what's inside so definitely give that a go too. Obviously this book deals with the subject of suicide and all aspects of mental health. Tamar is convince that she does not deserve to be in this world any longer and is willing to go to extreme measure to make sure that happens. She is definitely an intriguing character, not necessarily someone to like or someone even to sympathise with most of the time but she is definitely intriguing and this is definitely a character driven novel. There are a host of other characters in this novel, all of whom are struggling with their mental health but are in a facility which should support them and give them the help they need. I do feel like a little bit more time could have been given to these other characters but then we would have lost focus off of Tamar and it would have become an issues based novel rather than a character driven book and would have been a lot more of a difficult read than it was. I think this novel deals with the issues of depression, anxiety and some of the other aspects of mental health that it covers well. It definitely did have an effect on my own mental health and gen real outlook and was difficult to read at times. It does very much go into the different ways Tamar, and others think about killing themselves and about the skewed view of the world that people have when their mental health is not 100%. The ending of this novel was hopeful but not everything was tied up neatly in a bow, which I found fitting for the content but the kind of books I read, I would have liked more of a conclusion, however overall I think this was a good representation of teens with mental health issues and it was good that this book's release coincided with mental health awareness month in the UK.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this book really mixed. Going in to it, I expected a typical YA mental health rep, and this followed the standard style, involving our protagonist rising from the depths of insanity to find clarity and enjoyment in life again- all very predictable. However, this book failed to complete this arc in an elegant or original way. The characters were very 2D with little development, and their motivations were never clear as we are never granted opportunity to fully bond with them. This book I found this book really mixed. Going in to it, I expected a typical YA mental health rep, and this followed the standard style, involving our protagonist rising from the depths of insanity to find clarity and enjoyment in life again- all very predictable. However, this book failed to complete this arc in an elegant or original way. The characters were very 2D with little development, and their motivations were never clear as we are never granted opportunity to fully bond with them. This book felt like a cheap copy of Susanna Kaysen’s famous ‘Girl, interrupted’. The plot followed an almost identical path, yet with none of the grace or style of its predecessor. Although I appreciate the personality disorder rep, it was handled very ambiguously and felt slap dash by shoving an unexplained diagnosis in the final pages. Overall, I felt this book was a poor addition to the mental health genre, and an overall disappointing read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    3.5 Stars. Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. Trigger Warning: This book features mental illness stigma, self-harm, several suicide attempts, and suicide. This review discusses the self-harm and attempted suicide in this book. I wanted to review On a Scale of One to Ten by Ceylan Scott for Mental Illness in YA Month as it was an #OwnVoices novel for borderline personality disorder (BPD). While the story was written well, and has a lot to say on mental illness, I finished feeling pretty 3.5 Stars. Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. Trigger Warning: This book features mental illness stigma, self-harm, several suicide attempts, and suicide. This review discusses the self-harm and attempted suicide in this book. I wanted to review On a Scale of One to Ten by Ceylan Scott for Mental Illness in YA Month as it was an #OwnVoices novel for borderline personality disorder (BPD). While the story was written well, and has a lot to say on mental illness, I finished feeling pretty disappointed. Tamar has just been admitted to a psychiatric ward for teenagers after a suicide attempt. Tamar has been self-harming for a number of years now, ever since the death of Iris. Because she killed her. Because she's evil and disgusting, and doesn't deserve to live, when Iris died. The doctors ask Tamar question after question, but unlike with every other patient, they can't seem to figure out what she has. On a Scale of One to Ten is the story of life on a psychiatric ward, coming to terms with the past, and trying to live when you don't know what's wrong with you. On a Scale of One to Ten is a really well written, quick read. It's deeply affecting, and doesn't at all shy away from the dark side of mental illness. It's honest and raw and visceral, and, I guess, important. The story is told in alternating chapters of Then and Now, showing the events that lead up to Tamar entering the psychiatric ward, and life in the psychiatric ward. Tamar is really struggling with Iris' death. It's been two years now, but her mental health has just worsened. And what's worse, no-one seems to know what's wrong with her. All she knows is that she is evil, she is disgusting, she is worthless. She doesn't deserve to live, and can't stop thinking about ending her life. 'I don't tell him that the desire for death has been raging through my veins like a stampede of angry bulls, and that every fibre of my disgusting being should be charred and powdered in a dusty crematorium.' (p128-129) '"Can you tell me what's been bothering you these past few days? You've been seeming quite unsettled to some of the staff, would you agree with that?" "Yeah, I suppose." "Why?" Why? I can ponder that question in my sedated brain for days and I still won't have any answers. It's hard to make space for other thoughts when you only want to kill yourself. In fact, it's hard to make space for anything. It's hard to make space for remembering to eat or piss or smile when it's expected of you.' (p129-130) Tamar also really struggles with the fact that the doctors can't seem to figure out what's wrong wi th her. It's only at the very end of the book, when she's being discharged and she gets to take home her case-management notes, that we read 'Her symptoms are concurrent with a personality disorder borderline).' (p215) But Tamar isn't told what the doctor or the nurses think while on the ward. She seems to be a puzzle to them, unable to work out what it is she has. And there's frustration and fear in not knowing what's wrong, and not getting the help she needs. 'They gave me antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers. Because that's all they could do. Other patients could talk for hours in their sweaty-palmed state about their anxiety disorder. The eating-disorder patients, trapped in their unhealthy relationships with food, some of them emaciated, others not a pound off normal. The patients with such crippling depression that even getting out of bed in the morning was an achievement worthy of more than a pat on the back. The monster that had swallowed me was different. The experts soon exhausted their options: manic depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder . . . But the monster didn't need a label or a name. The monster was me.' (p170) '"How can we help you, Tamar?" "You're the doctor." He nods. "You're right, I am. I can give a diagnosis, I can prescribe medication, but I can't--" "What's wrong with me, then?" I say. "You tell everyone else what's wrong with them - Jasper's an anorexic, Elle's bipolar. What am I? Or am I just making all this up to waste your time?"' (p127) It's really difficult to watch this struggle, and it's heartbreaking that it takes so long for her to get a diagnosis. I know for me that knowing for definite that I had anxiety, and knowing what that meant and how it affected my body and why, made all the difference to me. Understanding my mental illness took away some of the fear. I knew what was "wrong" with me, and I knew why, and although it was scary having a panic attack, understanding why my body was behaving the way it was, was helpful. I can't even image what it's like to know something isn't right, but not knowing what, and knowing doctors can't seem to figure it out either. On a Scale of One to Ten also covers is the stigma surrounding mental illness... 'My illness didn't command sympathy and grapes and bunches of flowers. No sympathy for psychos. People didn't want to have anything to do with that girl, the one who sliced her own skin for fun. But I wasn't trouble; I was in trouble.' (p32) ...mostly in the form of Tamar's former not-quite-friend, Mia. Mia bullied Tamar when she was younger, until Mia became friends with Tamar's best friend, Toby, and a not-quite friendship was formed because of him. Mia visits Tamar at the psychiatric ward, on the day of Iris' birthday, and blows her top. '"I actually can't believe you, Tamar! You just swan around like everything is so much harder for you, when it's not! It's fucking not, OK? Life is shit for everyone, it's shit for me too, but that doesn't mean we all have to start moping around and slitting our wrists for everyone to see. You're a fucking idiot. You just used Iris as an excuse to get attention, everyone can see it. You weren't even that close to her. She was just some girl in our class."' (p105-106) Although I don't have the same mental illness as Tamar, simply having a mental illness, I reacted quite strongly to this. I felt sick and angry and upset, and I just wanted to cry. Mia's remarks aren't aimed at me, and yet this is the attitude so many have towards mental illness in general. I really don't understand how people don't get it. They don't need to have a mental illness to get it, it's called empathy. I don't understand how people could think those of us with mental illnesses just want attention, that we're faking it, being drama queens and over dramatic. I really don't get it. If I could choose not to have anxiety, I would. Unsurprisingly, Tamar doesn't react well to Mia's outburst. She was already not doing ok because it was Iris' birthday - the guilt and the hatred and the certainty that she is why Iris is dead, yet she is alive - and Mia just pushes her over the edge. Tamar attempts suicide int he bath with three razor blades she smuggled in. I'm not going to quote it in my review, but the scene is really quite graphic, and it was so, so difficult to read - even though I knew she would be ok, because there was still half the book to go. It was described so well, and with such a choice of words - "spewing", "spurts" - that you can't help but see it happen. I think some may have a negative reaction to simply reading this in my review, to know there's such a graphic suicide attempt, but I think it's important. Suicide is not pretty or romantic, it can be something out of a horror movie. And also, Tamar regrets it as soon as it's done, so we also see her panic and scream for help, and her desire to live. She's lucky, they manage to save her, but sometimes there's no going back from a suicide attempt, and I think it's important to see how quickly - in an instant, when Tamar thinks she might actually die - she regrets it. How she desperately wants to cling to life. When it comes to BPD, though, there's not really much I can say about it, because I don't feel like I know what it is. There's a lot of talk when it comes to diverse books about mirrors and windows; they should be mirrors for those from marginalised groups so they can see themselves in the characters, and windows for those who aren't part of those marginalised groups, to see and understand characters unlike themselves. From the reviews on Goodreads, it's clear to see that On a Scale of One to Ten is very much a mirror, it's had so many reviews from people with BPD raving about it and how it was spot on. But - and perhaps it's just me missing things - I didn't feel it was much of a window; I don't know any more about BPD than I did before picking up the book. I couldn't tell you how it manifests or what it's symptoms are. We get some medical jargon at the end of the book from Tamar's case-management notes, which gives some kind of idea, but I'm still really none-the-wiser. However, maybe it's just that On a Scale of One to Ten isn't for me. Perhaps it's for those who do have BPD, and if so, it's obviously doing it's job. And as I'm pretty sure I haven't come across any other books featuring BPD (if you know of others, please do let me know!), this book is hugely important for those teens with BPD, as this is a book they can read to see themselves in. However, for all it's good, there are elements of On a Scale of One to Ten I found quite disappointing. The characters, for the most part, are two dimensional. The only thing we know about Tamar as a person outside of her mental illness is she used to enjoy being part of the cross country team at school, and really enjoyed running. She makes friends at the ward with Alice, Jasper and Elle, but we know nothing about them as people, who they are, outside of their mental illnesses. Alice and Jasper are anorexic, Elle has bipolar. We know Elle has been in foster care since she witnessed her mother overdoes as a baby. But none of that tells us about who she is as a person. Jasper is funny, and Elle is a bit out there, but that's pretty much down to her bipolar. Otherwise, we know nothing about any of the characters. Nothing. And that's so very frustrating. Overall, On a Scale of One to Ten is an important and deeply affecting novel that will do a lot of good for BPD readers. It's heartbreaking, but hopeful, and we really need more stories like this, with characters getting the help they need (even if it's a struggle to work out what that help is). Thank you to Chicken House for the review copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    After her friend Iris dies in the water near a dam, Tamar comes to stay at Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital for troubled teens. Tamar blames herself for her friend's death, and she must tackle many of her own demons while she is being treated. As the plot unfolds, readers will realize that Iris's death is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tamar's mental health issues, and that she's been struggling for quite some time. I liked how the book opened with Tamar promising to join Iris in After her friend Iris dies in the water near a dam, Tamar comes to stay at Lime Grove, a psychiatric hospital for troubled teens. Tamar blames herself for her friend's death, and she must tackle many of her own demons while she is being treated. As the plot unfolds, readers will realize that Iris's death is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tamar's mental health issues, and that she's been struggling for quite some time. I liked how the book opened with Tamar promising to join Iris in the water, and I also enjoyed her inner thoughts about herself and those around her. But there was quite a bit of bouncing back and forth through the "Then" and "Now" chapters that became somewhat confusing. I usually like going back and forth in time, but there were parts of this technique that didn't work for me. I suppose I also wanted to see how Tamar was working on her own recovery and what safeguards would be put into place to make sure she could continue to heal once she returned home. To my way of thinking, there wasn't enough of this, and I also felt concerned about how much freedom she and some of the other patients seemed to have. When she's on an outing with her mother and hides razor blades in her hair bun, I almost gasped because that behavior seemed likely but it also seemed to have been preventable if her mother had been warned about what to watch out for. There were many passages that were gut-wrenching and heartbreaking as well as some that were hopeful. I was intrigued at how supportive some of her peers were as well as how judgmental others were, and honestly, I could have done without a romance. While it's lovely to have someone to love, often, one's recovery may depend on not getting involved so quickly in a romantic relationship. I appreciate the author's willingness to explore very tough topics as mental illness, suicide, and self-harm so honestly, though.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katie Seehusen

    At first I didn't like this book, but toward the end I started liking it, as well as after I finished and could reflect on it more. The beginning was hard for me to get into, because it was really frantic. There was a lot of information being thrown at the reader very quickly and it seemed like an info dump, which I don't like. I always want an author to show me instead of tell me. Though, after I had gotten through the book this slowed down a lot, and stopped toward the end. Because of this I At first I didn't like this book, but toward the end I started liking it, as well as after I finished and could reflect on it more. The beginning was hard for me to get into, because it was really frantic. There was a lot of information being thrown at the reader very quickly and it seemed like an info dump, which I don't like. I always want an author to show me instead of tell me. Though, after I had gotten through the book this slowed down a lot, and stopped toward the end. Because of this I thought it was the author's intention, a way to see inside the main character's head, as she has anxiety and her thoughts are racing a lot. I didn't really like the way the mental health professionals were portrayed. It seemed like they weren't helping the patients at all and were shown to be very ignorant and not worth the time the patient's had to spend with them. Again, part of this could have been that the author wanted to state that you are powerful enough to save yourself, but there didn't seem to be any redeeming qualities in most of the adults. There are definitely problems I had with this book, but I am glad I read it and the act of reading this book was a very unique experience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abbi Bennett

    3.25 stars, although I thought this book gave a good representation of mental illness, and didn't try to romanticise it, I don't think I enjoyed this book simply because it was so upsetting to me personally. There are huge trigger warnings with this book, including self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, so I would stray away from this if that would cause you distress - which clearly I didn't do. I think the character development for the protagonist was done well and overall it was a good YA novel 3.25 stars, although I thought this book gave a good representation of mental illness, and didn't try to romanticise it, I don't think I enjoyed this book simply because it was so upsetting to me personally. There are huge trigger warnings with this book, including self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, so I would stray away from this if that would cause you distress - which clearly I didn't do. I think the character development for the protagonist was done well and overall it was a good YA novel that tackled talking about these issues in a good way.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I think the ending was actually really brilliant because it is a very realistic ending, she wasn’t fully cured of her mental health problems but going into that journey of getting cured because it is a very hard thing to get fully cured of from own experiences especially when you go through a lot, in this novel is that her friend died and she has no idea what happened to her a developed a mental disorder because it was hard for her, but overall I like this book and I’m glad I read it I think the ending was actually really brilliant because it is a very realistic ending, she wasn’t fully cured of her mental health problems but going into that journey of getting cured because it is a very hard thing to get fully cured of from own experiences especially when you go through a lot, in this novel is that her friend died and she has no idea what happened to her a developed a mental disorder because it was hard for her, but overall I like this book and I’m glad I read it 🖤

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cynka

    I don't quite know what to think about it. It's scary and astonishing how accurately author pictured what's going on inside depressed person's head. It was hard. To read that all. I felt bad. I felt frustrated with the absence of any wants for getting better, but that's what it looks like. It's awful. On a scale of one to ten? I'd give this book a "fuck, this was tough but good".

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Scott

    This was a difficult read for me, as I have recently spent time in a partial hospitalization program, and am still in the middle of treatment. A lot of this hit home for me. That said, I felt the moods were accurate, the fear and description of depression and anxiety were real and relatable. Could I be rating emotionally? Perhaps. Sometimes, it’s more of what you get out of something versus the totality of the project. Also, kudos to the author, who is very young. I felt they did a bang up job.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bethan George

    I've never really enjoyed reading and have always struggled to get invested in a book or finish one - but I couldn't put this one down! I read it front to cover in just one day. It was captivating, thought provoking and written with such sensitivity. An amazing and beautiful book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Immi Murray

    What an utterly fantastic page turner!! Beautifully written. Would definitely recommend!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elise Smith

    Words can’t express how much I love this book! I find Tamar so easy relate to as a fellow BPD sufferer. I would highly recommend to read this book!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shane Reid

    One of the best books depicting mental health I've ever read. This was an honest story, not afraid to say how mental health it is. How precarious it can be, how out of control, how here-and-there, come-and-go. There was one like, about nobody cares if you try unless you win, and it really stuck with me. Its so true. People want the destination rather than the journey. Tamar's story won't apologise for how real it is, and nobody wants it to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karrie S

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When you have a mental illness and you want to write a book, you have a responsibility to be authentic with integrity. I know the author has BPD and thank God this is one that I don’t have. 1. You don’t have to talk about your cigarette addiction like it’s something that can be understood by everyone. It’s 2019 and it’s so 90s. I think more kids vape than anything else, so this part was weird and annoying to me. For some reason all the new books I’ve read are from the UK. It’s legal to do When you have a mental illness and you want to write a book, you have a responsibility to be authentic with integrity. I know the author has BPD and thank God this is one that I don’t have. 1. You don’t have to talk about your cigarette addiction like it’s something that can be understood by everyone. It’s 2019 and it’s so 90s. I think more kids vape than anything else, so this part was weird and annoying to me. For some reason all the new books I’ve read are from the UK. It’s legal to do anything at 16. It’s not the same here in the US. 2. NEVER write a book based on an event you tell on the last page. It will NEVER be a good book. As this has proven. Basically this book is 200 pages of her boring mind-fuck the author makes us go through before revealing her delusion at the end. It’s not interesting. She rarely talks about her parents. If a struggling teen doesn’t love her parents, then she hates them. Rarely are they a presence that doesn’t exist. They have a major power of her life. Even if she doesn’t love them, a teen will complain about them. This book doesn’t have it at all. It’s everything I hate in what is supposed to be a novel with a story line, but ends up being another in-patient drivel about nothing. The last 10 pages feel like it’s written by an entirely different person. A person with mental illness has shades of being; not entirely different people. They don’t stop being “sick” or change completely in a short period of time. 3. A life long friend that becomes a romantic interest after he peer-pressures into drinking, KNOWING that anti-psychotics DO NOT MIX. Seriously? AND the Dr acting like that was fine?!!! Not realistic whatsoever. And that’s what I hate about these books. If you want to relate to teens (as you say in the back) then write a memoir. 4. Self-cutting. Unless you talk how you are in recovery, just don’t. There is already too many of these attention-seeking books on the market that do more harm than good. MY opinion. I was hoping this wasn’t one of them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    I feel super bad bc this barely has any reviews but the book was terrible. There was no sense of pacing and it was very unclear at a lot of points (e.g. one minute she's in the shower, the next minute she's in a park). I read it in around an hour and 45 minutes with my friend in Barnes and Noble and we laughed together because there were so many ridiculous lines and plot points. Also like, people did not make a big enough deal about half of what went on, and they made way too big a deal out of I feel super bad bc this barely has any reviews but the book was terrible. There was no sense of pacing and it was very unclear at a lot of points (e.g. one minute she's in the shower, the next minute she's in a park). I read it in around an hour and 45 minutes with my friend in Barnes and Noble and we laughed together because there were so many ridiculous lines and plot points. Also like, people did not make a big enough deal about half of what went on, and they made way too big a deal out of tiny things. (view spoiler)[ *gets drunk to the point of hospitalization* Dr. whats his face: I'm proud of you! *drinks tea* I will kick you out of this program even though it is unclear whether you are here voluntarily and I make no sense ever! (hide spoiler)] Also, the last 5-ish pages were just... ridiculous. Like, what????? I'm convinced the author read a different trashy book about mental hospitals and then wrote this bc it was all just... oy. Also, the author kept deciding on different things halfway through, like they never brought up running until the very end and suddenly it was her entire identity?? And there was no consistency to the anxious thoughts. It was also just so unrealistic to the point that it was kind of hilarious, and literally nothing happened yet somehow so much happened and suddenly she's like "this insignificant character changed my life." Okay I'm so sorry if the author is reading this. It's not personal and I hope you take this constructively. Maybe your next book will be better.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joelie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have mixed feelings. Firstly I dont have any experience with a person that is suicidal so im not going to mention my opinion of whether I think this is an accurate portrayal of what it looks like. Positives: It was a strong narrative and i enjoyed looking into the world from the eyes of someone that is hurting themselves and isnt really sure why they are doing it. I felt Tamar's helplessness and fear and its what kept me interested in the story. I likes that we got to go back and see the chain of I have mixed feelings. Firstly I dont have any experience with a person that is suicidal so im not going to mention my opinion of whether I think this is an accurate portrayal of what it looks like. Positives: It was a strong narrative and i enjoyed looking into the world from the eyes of someone that is hurting themselves and isnt really sure why they are doing it. I felt Tamar's helplessness and fear and its what kept me interested in the story. I likes that we got to go back and see the chain of events from Tamars perspective rather than just listen to her relay the whole story in a therapists office Negatives: The subject matter is very confronting and detailed which should make for a really impacting read, however the writing felt a little messy so I was getting distracted trying to follow the story. I dont think that Tamar's parents would pay for her to be in an institution and also allow her to smoke at home but get annoyed at her drinking......that doesnt seem logical. Elle was.......insufferable - mental illness or not. I dont think a mental illness like depression or bi-polar gives you an excuse to act petulantly. There where a some serious issues brought to light and not handled in the book.....maybe it was for shock value but this story already has many triggers in it, as an author you have an obligation to discuss topics if you are going to bring them into the story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    J Mccarragher

    @kidlitexchange #partner “Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.” On a Scale of 1 to 10 by Ceylan Scott is a window into the ugly, gritty side of mental illness from the main character’s perspective. Though not a true story, the author is upfront with the fact that much of Tamar’s journey is loosely based on her own. As we as a society struggle to understand the intricacies of mental illness, this is another gut-wrenching account of what @kidlitexchange #partner “Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.” On a Scale of 1 to 10 by Ceylan Scott is a window into the ugly, gritty side of mental illness from the main character’s perspective. Though not a true story, the author is upfront with the fact that much of Tamar’s journey is loosely based on her own. As we as a society struggle to understand the intricacies of mental illness, this is another gut-wrenching account of what those with bipolar disorder, anxiety, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, and depression suffer on a regular basis. The novel is graphic in its honesty but I was struck by the hopefulness shown near the end. “It isn’t an epiphany. It isn’t like that. I don’t wake up one morning and out of the blue see the light filtering through the curtains and hear the bubbling flow of the water feature outside and suddenly feel alive. That comes much later on, after each morning when I do leave the house even though I just want to hide in bed, after each shower when I clean my body twice over instead of slicing it to shreds with a slippery blade like I want to...but getting up each time, [can] I say, ‘I am here, I am alive, and I am not an evil person’ and believe it to be true.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    The British author of this book was 16-years-old when she signed a contract for this book with the Scholastic imprint Chicken House. She wrote it in bits and pieces on her cell phone when she was in the hospital being treated for mental illness on multiple different occasions. The final editing was done while she was in the hospital on a locked ward. It is a remarkable book. The details of the illness-borderline personality disorder-and of the treatment for it are accurate. I am a Child & The British author of this book was 16-years-old when she signed a contract for this book with the Scholastic imprint Chicken House. She wrote it in bits and pieces on her cell phone when she was in the hospital being treated for mental illness on multiple different occasions. The final editing was done while she was in the hospital on a locked ward. It is a remarkable book. The details of the illness-borderline personality disorder-and of the treatment for it are accurate. I am a Child & Adolescent psychiatrist and have a mental illness myself. The author's ability to look at her situation with insight and humor is admirable. It is a great addition to the many books that have been written over the years, both fiction and memoir, that provide authentic experiences of mental illness, such as I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, An Unquiet Mind, Girl Interrupted, It's Kind of a Funny Thing, Challenger Deep, and Calvin.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

    The book is fine - it doesn’t add anything new to the YA genre. I do feel like the way this book is written isn’t very distinguished, it’s very basic and I feel like there’s very little complexity in the way it’s written. It’s also not a particularly accurate representation of mental illness and it’s concerning that this could potentially romanticise being an inpatient in a CAMHS unit for teenagers who are struggling or give ideas as to how to harm themselves. I appreciate that it’s a fine line The book is fine - it doesn’t add anything new to the YA genre. I do feel like the way this book is written isn’t very distinguished, it’s very basic and I feel like there’s very little complexity in the way it’s written. It’s also not a particularly accurate representation of mental illness and it’s concerning that this could potentially romanticise being an inpatient in a CAMHS unit for teenagers who are struggling or give ideas as to how to harm themselves. I appreciate that it’s a fine line between wanting to be ‘true’ but I just don’t think it’s realistic. The representation of this inpatient unit and the characters aren’t realistic - some features are but it doesn’t at all represent the complexities of the situation that the author is trying to portray. This book was fine, I wouldn’t recommend it and found it incredibly basic

  29. 5 out of 5

    kate

    This book is raw and painful, full of highs and aching lows, and it is unflinchingly honest. Recovery from any mental illness takes a lot of time and heartbreak, and is never going to be the same experience for others as it is for some. This depiction of a psychiatric ward, and the teenagers living in it, was not censored or watered-down, but I felt as though it lacked dimension. The side characters often felt myopic and without individuality, and the ultimate change in Tamar's recovery journey This book is raw and painful, full of highs and aching lows, and it is unflinchingly honest. Recovery from any mental illness takes a lot of time and heartbreak, and is never going to be the same experience for others as it is for some. This depiction of a psychiatric ward, and the teenagers living in it, was not censored or watered-down, but I felt as though it lacked dimension. The side characters often felt myopic and without individuality, and the ultimate change in Tamar's recovery journey felt rushed and completely inconsistent with her own perception of her mental health. I did like the author's writing style, as it felt synonymous with the rapid and rambling thoughts that come with anxiety or panic. It just felt as though nothing really stood out for me while reading this, and I wish there was more about the characters to have learnt about.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Epler

    I really want to have positive things to say about this book, especially considering it’s a book about a character with BPD written by someone with BPD. The author is young — 21 or 22 I think — and it shows. The novel itself is short with surface-level detail. There are a lot of parts of her mental health journey that we could explore deeper, but we don’t get to, so it’s hard to feel connected to the story. For being written by someone with BPD, it also doesn’t feel like a terribly accurate I really want to have positive things to say about this book, especially considering it’s a book about a character with BPD written by someone with BPD. The author is young — 21 or 22 I think — and it shows. The novel itself is short with surface-level detail. There are a lot of parts of her mental health journey that we could explore deeper, but we don’t get to, so it’s hard to feel connected to the story. For being written by someone with BPD, it also doesn’t feel like a terribly accurate depiction of the illness. Obviously everyone has different experiences, even with similar symptoms, but this still felt very much like an outsiders view of BPD. I will say I enjoyed reading the book, but I found myself wanting more details and to feel more connected to the characters.

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