Remembering Ned Vizzini


Sometimes, when you open a book, time stops.

Young adult author Ned Vizzini passed away on December 19th. Vizzini’s novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which dealt heavily with themes of teenage depression and anxiety, proved to be an inspiration to many struggling around the world.

Vizzini also wrote a memoir at age 19 entitled “Teen Angst? Naaah” along with several other novels. He also wrote for MTV’s “Teen Wolf” and NBC’s “Believe.”

Below are the thoughts of those who were touched by Vizzini’s life and work, who would like to celebrate and remember his life.

Ned Vizzini was an awesome human being. He made everyone who ever met him feel as if they were the only people in the room. He had amazing insight and the most beautiful creative mind I’ve ever encountered.

Ned made sure to congratulate me for every success. I was always and will always be a huge advocate for his works. Ned was able to come up with ideas that initially sounded batty but when you read the finished project you realized just how genius the idea really was. He was never able to put it into words vocally in a way I could understand but when he put pen to paper he was never wrong.

I wish a lot of things. I wish I had called Ned more. I wish I had made time for coffee at Comic Con. I wish I knew his family so that I could share my Nedisms with them. I wish I could write this with brilliant words that Ned would have used. I wish you all could have met him if only for five minutes. If you had I know you’d have loved him too.

Most of all I wish Ned could have known just how many lives he touched with his work and just how much his friends loved him.

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg
Literary Agent & Partner at Foreword Literary

I can’t exactly remember the first time I picked up Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It was some time in high school where I probably should’ve been sleeping but instead stayed up all night reading. Since then, I know I’ve reread the book countless times either in-full or just short visits and every time it’s given me this quiet reassurance, something that says you are not alone.

Issues surrounding mental illness carry a pretty hefty cultural stigma, particularly when you’re young. Vizzini’s words — his humor, insight and heartfelt assurance that some things like heartbreak, adolescent stress or even brain chemistry are survivable — were so meaningful to me as I grew up. There are so many things in your teenage years that make you feel wrong, like you don’t fit in to your school, your family, hell, even your own bones. It’s hard to be shaken out of that fog of teenage isolation; it takes a good friend (whether in flesh or a really good book) to bring you back to center and let you know that what you’re feeling is valid.

That is why I was saddened to hear about Vizzini’s passing in the last month. Vizzini gave me a much-needed reminder about the value of living and the validity of the good and bad feelings. In his life, he offered that sort of wisdom that ultimately helped me and numerous other people. He spoke from experience in a way that was never preachy, saccharine or unrealistic. He was a man who knew depression was a vicious thing to cope with and the strength of an individual’s personal demons can be difficult to fathom. He also knew that young people had options, that a phone call from the edge and the knowledge that there is no shame in asking for help could prevent a tragedy.

And, ultimately, he offered some of the best advice I’ve ever received: “keep at it and hope it gets better.” And that’s all any of us can do.

Rest well, Ned. We appreciate all you did.

Katherine Speller
“What Ned Vizzini Gave Me”

We here at YA Interrobang send our condolences to Ned Vizzini’s family and friends, and to those in the young adult community who feel the hole his loss has created.

  • Author T. Michael Martin (The End Games) remembers Ned Vizzini.
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1 Comment

  1. I wasn’t even struggling with depression, just the usual angst and urgency that every teen experiences and Ned helped me, inspired me, made me smile, cry, laugh and aspire to live to the fullest. I was completely heartbroken when I found out about his passing because it just reminds me that life is so fragile and precious. I already miss him and his endless talent. So glad I got to enjoy his brilliance before he left us.