A tender, engaging narrative intended to inspire positivity in the face of adversity.


A small tabby cat with some special skills helps a reluctant young woman navigate challenging times in Ford’s YA novel.

Nineteen-year-old Wendy, who works as a web designer, has been recently losing her hearing. Doctors tell her that, eventually, the loss will be total, so she’s taking a class in sign language and practices lip reading to prepare for the future. The last thing she needs is to complicate her life by adopting a cat, but her parents insist that she take her recently deceased grandmother’s pet, which shares Wendy’s name.The humanWendy isn’t fond of felines; her parents raise and show champion purebred cats, which she feels has been their top priority throughout her life. That’s why they refuse to bring a “mongrel” cat into their home, where she might somehow compromise the award-winning Martha and Kiki. Wendy brings her to the local animal shelter, but they’re full up. Simon, a kindhearted shelter volunteer, suggests that she take care of the gentle little tabby until they have an opening. Soon, however, the new pet escapes from Wendy’s house and runs to the home of new neighbor Mrs. Matinka Budnick, where she evidently plans to stay; later, though, Wendy discovers the cat’s unique talents. The protagonist begins her narrative journey with a lot of emotional baggage, but Ford gives readers the opportunity to follow her as she embarks on some adventure and perhaps a bit of romance. She must start by learning compassion and building self-confidence, as spelled out in a note her grandmother wrote during her final days: “What will ruin your life is your attitude. You lose some things—but in life you will also discover some new things, wonderful things.” The plucky little tabby is the most endearing character in the book, and the charming and determined animal becomes Wendy’s fierce protector and loving guide. Overall, Ford’s uncomplicated prose and affirmative, directive messaging will be most appropriate for readers who are at the younger end of the YA range.

A tender, engaging narrative intended to inspire positivity in the face of adversity.

Pub Date: July 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-52-559299-7

Page Count: 150

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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


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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