Suicide isn’t as easy as it may seem.
High school junior Ellery Stevens has decided to end her life. She cannot stop blaming herself for the freak driving accident in which her beloved younger sister was killed. The fact that her parents blamed her for the incident and then divorced shortly after does nothing to help Ellery’s rock-bottom self-esteem. For the entire span of the novel readers witness her unsuccessful suicide attempts, beginning with a faulty Wal-Mart shotgun, which fails to fire. All of her careful planning falls apart when she tries to return the gun to Kmart, and the store security guard, high school senior Colter, recognizes her issues and takes her under his wing. In spite of her best efforts to ditch him and even as she plans her next attempt, she finds herself…falling in love. Ellery’s voice is engaging and authentic, and her edgy black humor comes into play when she and Colter ironically banter quotes from The Notebook back and forth. The white teens’ chemistry yields some intense kissing action and eventual (and elided) condom-enhanced consummation. Ellery's death wish is mirrored by others’, extending the theme. A childhood friend successfully kills himself, despite her attempts to prevent him, and she finds out that part of Colter’s motive for saving her is the fact that his brother also killed himself.
Sadness gives way to redemption and an unforced hope in this thoughtful read. (Fiction. 14-18)