It really is just a normal Tuesday…until it isn’t.
When Kai Sheehan’s older sister, Jen, commits suicide, her own life spirals out of control. The rage-filled white 16-year-old drinks, smokes pot, and pops prescription medication to numb her pain. Her tough-love–invoking best friends, TJ, a gay white boy, and Emily, a well-to-do girl with “cocoa” skin, attempt to support her, but there’s only so much they can do. Kai’s parents have, understandably, been too wrapped up in their own grief to help, so they send Kai to a “grief camp” for teens. Guided by her olive-skinned counselor, Marco Esposito, Kai talks, writes, and paints her way through the stages of grief. She also falls in love. Graham, a white boy whose brother died, makes Kai feel normal again. He understands what she’s going through in a way no one else does. She also forms close bonds with the other teens in her group, and with their support, she’s on her way to accepting she’ll never know why Jen killed herself. Loads of brand name-dropping and current pop-culture references will undoubtedly date this book. However, the timeless themes of love, loss, and moving forward will find a readership among those who are also grieving and need to know they’re not alone.
Inspired by the author’s own loss of a sister to suicide, it’s sensitive and uplifting without being sappy. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)