Jenny Jagerfeld’s Me on the Floor, Bleeding, is a psychological thriller that won the August Prize for Best Youth Novel in Sweden. Jagerfeld is a psychologist who specializes in treating young adults. This novel is her first and, hopefully, will serve to launch yet another intriguing writer from Sweden.
After 17-year-old Maja Muller, an off-beat outsider, cuts off the tip of her thumb during a sculpting class, her father insinuates that she may have done so on purpose. “No one sodding well saws off their thumb deliberately,” Maja says. Her father replies, “No, Maja, I know. But I thought…perhaps you were unable to verbalize your anxiety.” Maja’s father isn’t the only one thinking that Maja hurts herself intentionally, a way to deal with her anxiety and fears.
With a bruised thumb and ego, Maja, who considers herself “depressingly mediocre,” travels by train to Norrkopling, Sweden for her mother’s 45th birthday. When Maja’s mother doesn’t meet her at the station, Maja continues on by tram to an empty house. Her mother is…gone.
With a painful splinter in her foot, Maya stumbles to her neighbor’s house asking for a pair of tweezers. Justin Case is a 20 year-old who talks nonstop. despite a hairstyle that resembles Hitler’s, Maya is drawn to Justin, someone to help her forget her parents and her injuries.
When Justin takes Maja out, she compares herself unfavorably to the pretty, perfume wearing women in the restaurant. “I was bloody and weird and far too young and I really didn’t fit in, but on the other hand I never had.” And yet with Justin, Maja does fit in.
Maja’s voice is raw and honest and along her journey of self-discovery, she gives herself advice: “Well, how about using this crisis as an opportunity to develop a little?” And: If you wanna make an apple pie from scratch you have to start by making the universe.” Jagerfeld also has Maja describing her emotions through song lyrics and poetry.
Me On the Floor, Bleeding is part The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, part The Perks of Being a Wallflower, part Girl, Interrupted, but entirely compelling and unique. This YA novel can be enjoyed by adults and mature young people, ages 12 and up.
Me On the Floor, Bleeding