Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson

I received this book from the publisher, Inkwater Press, in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson was very different from what I expected, but a book I greatly enjoyed.

Oliver has suffered a severe crisis, and in turn, is suicidal.  He is placed in Airhaven, a Behavioral Health Center, to help treat his mental illness.

While at Airhaven, Oliver befriends Penelope, a fellow patient who battles with schizophrenia.  Penelope is very unique, but a really sweet, caring individual.  Unfortunately, the other patients don’t see this side of her, except for Oliver.

Penelope battles with seeing her “true” self, the amazing person she is, who just happens to have schizophrenia.  She continually pushes away her fiance, who has been with her since before she was diagnosed.

Oliver’s battle is with forgiving himself and feeling like a valued individual.

This story was heart-wrenching and there was a scene at the very end where I REALLY was nervous, but it all just made the story that much better.

The only negative I have, and some people might just think I’m completely wrong, but I thought that at times there was too much positive thinking.  The friends and supportive family and patients were just TOO supportive at times for my liking.  I know, small negative, but just felt like I needed to point it out.

Check out the book trailer:

Tune in tomorrow for a really moving guest post by the author!



17 thoughts on “Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson

  1. Nice review! I really liked this book as well – my post won’t be up until mid-June though. The overwhelming support from William and Matt made me wonder how typical it is; Peterson has worked in counseling, so I’m curious how many relationships really are that supportive.


    • I thought that the supportive aspect was good, but borderlined on being too much. I like that people are supportive because that’s what people need, and it was a great role model for readers. But I almost wish there was a little more push-back at times. Although, then I might have thought it too negative or not positive enough. I’ll never know, I guess!


  2. Rebecca, thank you for your review! I truly appreciate all of your thoughts about Leave of Absence. Jennifer and Leah, I’m looking forward to your reviews, too. I was hoping that LOA would spark thoughtful questions, comments, and discussions, so I’m thrilled that you’re analyzing the supportive behavior from William and Matt. I’d love to comment just as part of a discussion. Please know that I’m not being defensive. I’m not like that. I wanted to create a very realistic portrayal of mental illness and the stigma associated with it. Penelope and William together face the harsh judgement of friends, and even patients at Airhaven shun Penelope. Of course this happens, but not everyone in society is close-minded and judgmental. Some people are extremely supportive and encouraging. Having supportive people in one’s life is one of the most important, if not the most important, factors in the prognosis of someone experiencing mental illness. I’ve seen many examples of extremely supportive friends/family. Regarding Matt, his role is like a counselor. As such, he helps Penelope and Oliver reframe some of their experiences and help them develop positive coping skills. I will stop being long-winded now! Again, I love discussions, and I’m really glad you made the observations you did. 🙂


    • Tanya,

      I’m so glad you’re open to discussions about the book! Like I said, and like Leah seemed to be saying, it’s something we noticed, and I don’t know if it’s something that I would have been dissatisfied with if people weren’t as supportive. I can’t really say. I just know that it’s something I noticed in the book, and I’m glad that Matt and William (and Penelope and Oliver) were all very supportive. Good role models for others. I just wondered that if at times they were too supportive. I thought, is that realistic? Or is it that how it should be? It seems a silly “negative” to point out, because it’s not really one, and I’m being very un-Pollyanna for saying something at all, but I noticed it, so I felt like I had to touch on it.

      Although, having supportive characters is actually really important and I would have been very upset if there was little of it. Maybe I’m nitpicking? 😛

      Either way, I really did enjoy the book a lot and I think it reminds us that a person with a mental illness is just that: a PERSON.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!!! You’re awesome!


      • Discussion is one of the most important traits of humanity! I don’t think you’re nitpicking at all. What is the most important thing of all is that you feel that LOA reminds everyone that a person with a mental illness is a person!


  3. Sounds like an interesting read on a tough subject. Honestly, schizophrenia and kids that are psychopaths in ghosts in movies are the ones that scare me the most. But at the heart of it schizophrenics are people with an illness. I like books that make me question my thoughts or break stereotypes/preconceptions. I think the book might scare me but would bring to light tough issues facing patients with mental illness and their families. Thanks for the recommendation!


    • The book isn’t scary, it’s actually shows the people with the illnesses as people who happen to be dealing with certain issues. It’s not one you need to shy away from if you’re worried about scary stuff at all. It’s very real.


      • It is SO common for schizophrenia to be portrayed (incorrectly) as something to be feared. That’s why I wanted to write this! Of course many people fear it — it’s the only thing many know thanks to movies, TV shows, etc. I’m happy you’re interested in LOA, Tanya!


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