Suicide from the eyes of a survivor.
Seventeen-year-old Adam Strand tells readers up front that he doesn’t want to tell his story; he really wishes he didn’t have a story to tell. He’s killed himself 39 times using various methods: jumping, bullets, poisoning and more. For reasons that are never explained, however, he always manages to wake up a few hours after each attempt as if it never happened. His parents and friends are nonplussed by his behavior—his father even includes “dead time” in his grounded hours for every minute past his curfew that he spends dead. Alex Award winner Galloway’s first novel for teens is all character sketch and atmosphere. He pens beautifully rendered landscapes—a haunting, abandoned bridge over a river, a ravaged statue of an angel in the town square. These melancholy descriptions reveal more of the story than Adam or his supporting characters. Adam himself is simultaneously provocative and off-putting as a narrator. His story is compelling, but he withholds. Herein lies the problem: Galloway leaves out the bits that teens would want to read about most: the suicide details, solid connections between Adam and his friends, a budding romance. All are either buried or glided over with a cool nonchalance that will be hard to follow for teens accustomed to titles like Thirteen Reasons Why.
A moody, compelling read that never cuts to the quick. (Fiction. 14 & up)