I found Everything Here is Beautiful ($35, Pamela Dorman Books), a novel by Mira T. Lee, a good read, but a heartbreaking one.

The book is told in alternate voices including Miranda, the responsible, older sister, and Lucia, the headstrong, unpredictable younger sister, whom Miranda always protects, as well as a host of other characters affected by Lucia and her mental health issues.

We watch as Lucia marries a big-hearted, older man and leaves him to have a baby with a young Latino. We see as she is admitted to the hospital, is released and how she suddenly decides to pack up her family and move them from the United States to Ecuador and back again. Each time we experience what it is like to be Miranda as she attempts to clean up the mess her sister leaves behind and keep her safe.

From what I have read and been told, I am certain Lee’s account of living with someone with a mental illness, whether it’s bipolar or schizophrenia, is accurate, which therefore makes it a tough read.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for Miranda, to feel like she always has to protect her sister, to take the brunt of her anger and to clean up the messes she leaves behind. It must also be awful for Miranda’s husband as he becomes the bad guy as he attempts to keep his wife safe.

Then there is Lucia herself. I am grateful I do not have mental health issues as I couldn’t imagine that constant fight from within.

A copy of this book was provided by Penguin Random House for an honest review. The opinions are my own.