Book Review: Take Me to Nirvana by J. Y. Barris

Title:  Take Me to NirvanaTake_Me_To_Nirvana_JY_Barris

Author:  J. Y Barris

Published:  January 10, 2023

Source:  Owned

Type:  e-copy


Nothing is as it seems when Tom hires a mysterious woman to work at his shop. After he loses contact with her, their brief bond eventually leads him to set out with his detective brother to find her…

Take Me To Nirvana is a beautifully crafted novel that celebrates hope and courage. It is a raw, powerful story that follows the sudden disappearance of Amber, a young woman struggling to reconcile a haunting past with her new chance at a normal life. The book delves deep into her troubled mind, and the strange, sometimes gruesome challenges she faces in finding closure.

A Psychological Novel Raising Awareness of Childhood Abuse

In 2020 in the USA, over *7 million children were subject to childhood abuse. In over 90 percent of cases, at least one parent was involved. Take Me To Nirvana aims to throw light on the high prevalence of parent-initiated abuse in the USA and help victims find a route forward to healing and happiness. 

Check it on Amazon Goodreads 


Some years ago, I was approached by J. Y. Barris to read and review her first novel “Erase”. I was a beginner book blogger, focused mainly on vampires and fantasy books. “Erase” was so far out of my comfort zone! But I did it. I don’t know what pulled me to that book, but I read it and loved it so much! So she has become an auto-buy for me.

When I learned about her upcoming release, I preordered it without even reading the blurb. I knew I would love this book, but I didn’t know how much. I can openly say that January 10th was the best day so far this year, since it is the day this book arrived to my Kindle. I fell in love even from the opening lines.  The author begins “Take Me To Nirvana” with a dedication for the victims of child abuse:

This book is dedicated to every child abuse survivor. Sorry if life has been a massive lemon but thank you for trying your best every day to turn it into a colorful lemonade. If you are still haunted by your childhood trauma, let Nirvana carry your sorrow as I hope you find peace within yourself after reading this book in its entirety.

To describe it in few words, Tom Ager hires Amber Simmons to help him organize the activities for his plumbing business. The young woman seems desperate for some help and appears to be looking for a fresh start. Amber’s mysterious life intrigues Tom, so when one day she fails to show up for work, he starts investigating her disappearance. An entire bunch of characters becomes involved, each following their own interest. At the same time, our female main character looks for her own stability and purpose in life.

What is important to mention from the beginning is that there are no perfect characters. All are perfectly flawed, and their flaws actually become helpful at one point in the story. Each plays a role, each falls in like a fitted puzzle piece. So, while there are characters with mental health issues, there are also characters whose personalities may, apparently at least, hinder them to reach a certain goals or social status. We have Tom – a business owner, but unable to have a romantic relationship, Gabe – an apparently carefree guy, working a job just for the income while dreaming of becoming a rockstar, Tom’s brother – looking for professional recognition. Then there is a psychologist, whose sole purpose is to see her patients finally having a shot at life, or even Amber’s strange “sister”. In her own mind, she looks for happiness, in a twisted way.

Characters aside, what is made loud and clear is how much abuse can mess up one’s ability to cope with reality; how much a healthy support system can straighten the child, or teenager or adult. There is this immense power in all of us, but sometimes we need signs or guides to learn how to let it loose Therapy, a good therapist, is more than important in this journey and I like how the author presented the relationship between patient and doctor. This book is so perfectly built, I am at a loss of words!

Favorite Quote: There are quite a few quotes I’ve marked down. One of those is:

“No, I mean it in the most accepting way. Everyone’s a little weird, a little strange in this world, wouldn’t you agree? So don’t be so hard on yourself. I say live life to the fullest, enjoy it in whichever way to please…”

It is not the only place where the author points out that we should be more focused on building a life that satisfies our own expectations, not others. Learn to make yourself happy, learn to love yourself.

Cover Review: Even the cover sends a message. I can tell you what I understand from it, though, at some point I hope to ask the author. The artwork is simple, yet bold. The girl with her eyes covered makes me think about all the children that we don’t know about who fall victims to abuse (physical or emotional), with a future uncertain. Sometimes we don’t care, sometimes we even close our eyes to such cases. Sometimes we are ignorant, but kindness is free, emotional support is also free. The red in the title is like a strong cry to happiness, to finding a path. Nirvana is not just a character, it is our special place.

“Take Me to Nirvana” is not just about finding a lost woman. It is about finding that place of happiness, or at least a comfortable level of satisfaction. It is about navigating the tumultuous waters of this life and learning to make camp somewhere, setting up roots. There are so many reasons why this book should be read, and I would make this review incredibly long to speak about all. But, to summarize, J. Y. Barris tells a story with so much to learn from. Her message is loud, clear, important and helpful at the same time, as stated by her in the preface:

My mission with “Take Me to Nirvana” is to write something that gives hope to people affected by childhood trauma and to raise awareness of child abuse. I hope this book will provide them a sense of “you are not alone”, and that it will give them the courage to find their own peace and move beyond their past.

5 stars

There are times I feel I am not able to do justice to books such as this one. I feel I don’t have the right vocabulary or knowledge in general. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that this review at least sparked our interest. Until next time, Happy Reading!

About The Author JYBarris

I’m a writer, relationship coach, graphic and app designer, an illustrator and artist based in Prior Lake, MN. I work with editors, bloggers, entrepreneurs and app developers to transform ideas into existence.

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