Told with compassion and empathy, a conversation-starting look at the dangers of keeping a pregnancy secret.

A SMALL MADNESS

High school couple Rose and Michael deal with the devastating consequences of her insistence that an unexpected pregnancy simply isn't real in this Australian import.

Seniors Rose and Michael love each other and decide to have sex for the first time, but they forget to use protection—twice. Two months later, student thespian Rose starts feeling nauseated and enlists her much more experienced best friend, Liv, to buy her a pregnancy test. Despite the positive result, Rose deludes herself and eventually Michael into thinking she's not really pregnant after all. As weeks tick by, Rose stops eating and refuses to speak to Liv or to even say the words "pregnant" or "baby." "I've worked it out. We don't tell anyone. No one could help us anyway. I can hide it. It's not real….These things go away all the time." By weaving in the perspectives of not only Rose and Michael, but occasionally Liv, Rose's clueless mum, and Michael's older brother, the author creates a believable and heartbreaking picture of how two smart, middle-class teens could make such ill-conceived decisions. Part cautionary tale, part exploration of the madness bred by desperation, this is a difficult but powerful narrative inspired by a true story. Although it ends in frustrating ambiguity, the story is riveting enough to read in one sitting.

Told with compassion and empathy, a conversation-starting look at the dangers of keeping a pregnancy secret. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55498-837-2

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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