Leonard's story occurs during a single day in his life, but includes many glimpses of his past and the events that lead up to his actions on that single day - his 18th birthday. You see all the key players through his eyes as he recalls incidents with his parents, classmates, friends, the girl has a crush on, and his teachers. He is a bright student on the AP track, but he chooses to do something that we all know is motivated by sheer desperation. As he tries to reach out to people, everyone misunderstands him or is unavailable, or is fooled by the act he puts on - only his teacher, Herr Silverman, actually goes out on a limb for him and makes a connection. (Although I think his neighbor, Walt, might have done so if he was in better health and Leonard hadn't rushed off to school without letting Walt know what was going on.) I enjoyed Leo's quotes from Bogart movies and Hamlet, and I liked the letters from the future that were included. When you read them, you will be hoping as I do that Leonard reaches that future and has those people in his life.
This is definitely a book for teens and older readers. The issues Leonard is dealing with and some of the situations he describes are too mature for younger readers. I can imagine having this as a novel study in an AP English class and some intense debate taking place about how Leonard and the other characters should have handled things. It is a book that will make you laugh and cry and wonder if other teens are going through something similar.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. This book was written by Matt Greene, the author of The Silver Linings Playbook. The publisher has recommended it for Teens/YA readers. Here is the trailer for the book.