Will Walton, author of Anything Could Happen, returns with his second YA novel, I Felt a Funeral In My Brain. While seemingly different from his previous release, his latest novel grapples the difficulty of being a teenager, the awkward nature of awakening sexuality, and the struggle of enduring parental neglect and alcoholism. With a more serious tone, Walton returns with a poetic and difficult read, tackling some of the most intense aspects of adolescence.
Avery is lost, and the only way he can really feel understood is through poetry. It all began when his teacher read his poem in front of the class, revealing one of his darkest secrets: his mother is addicted to alcohol. And when school is out for the summer and she gives him poetry books to explore in his free time, Avery delves into the world of the written word, finding solace in the lessons and beauty found in poetry. Grappling with his sexuality and trying to understand his mother’s condition, Avery is at a loss. With the inclusion of relatable and important topics and an intriguing use of poetry, Walton delivers a complex and important story about a boy’s coming-of-age experience, understanding the world through poetry.
Walton’s I Felt a Funeral In My Brain can truly be called original and noteworthy. Avery’s story was unlike anything I have ever experienced in YA literature, and the inclusion of poetry added an extra layer of depth and complexity to the story, giving insight into the power of literature and the written word. While I did find some of the story to feel jumbled and a little hard to follow at some points due to the poetry used throughout, it was a challenging and moving read nonetheless. I am not an avid reader of poetry myself, but I still found intrigue and complex emotion within the text. While it’s not one of my favorite reads of the year, I think I Felt a Funeral In My Brain definitely has an audience and is sure to please readers.
Avery looks to poetry for his answers and is consumed by what he reads, a beautiful illustration of the power of words and writing. With the incorporation of poetry, Will Walton returns with a second novel, one speaking to the hardships of being a teenager and enduring difficult parental relationships. For those interested in poetry, I Felt a Funeral In My Brain is sure to impress.