More than anything, Sykosa is a character-driven story. It's very close to being a slice-of-life novel, in that, though there is an underlying plot and a back story the main characters are often too afraid to talk or think about, most of the story comes across as just a sample of Sykosa's life from both junior and sophomore year of high school.
One could say that the plot is Sykosa's affection for Tom, how she copes with the 'blackness' brought forth from whatever terrible event happened her sophomore year, and how she handles her friendship with Niko, her troubled best friend. Still, it's not a solid plot with a specific conflict and end, though part of this may be because Sykosa is a two part story and the first book is part one.
I like to think of Sykosa as a coming-of-age novel, with the rites of passage being sexuality, betrayal, forgiveness (or a lack thereof), and simply growing up and taking each day as they come. Author Justin Ordonez is truthful and blunt with his portrayal of Sykosa and Niko's lives. He doesn't sugarcoat anything, from cursing to drug usage to the derogatory forms of sexual terms. With that said, I can understand how Sykosa can rub some the wrong way. It doesn't rub me the wrong way because I'm open-minded and nineteen, meaning I still clearly remember what it was like to be obsessed with boys, completely out of touch with your parents, and unsure of where you fit. Heck, I graduated from high school a year ago.
This isn't her story. This isn't her life.
Basically, what I'm getting at is the characters were very realistic, and their reactions to their circumstances - Sykosa to the mystery 'incident' we readers only get bits and pieces of; Niko to the problems with her parents - made sense to me. In a novel that is primarily character-driven, that's an excellent accomplishment.
I really want to learn more about the incident and how Sykosa's relationship with Tom and Niko progress, so part two will definitely be on my to-read list.
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About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.
About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.