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THINGS LEFT UNSAID by Stephanie Hemphill

THINGS LEFT UNSAID

A Novel in Poems

By Stephanie Hemphill

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7868-1850-6
Publisher: Hyperion

Hemphill’s debut offers beautiful poems that speak both directly and between the lines, as Sarah goes from amorphous unhappiness to silence to depression to hope. Sarah’s a high-school junior with SAT anxiety, vague discomfort with her good-student role, and reluctance to connect with her mother. One old friend is too naïve, the other selfishly hot and cold. New friend Robin chooses Sarah almost without her consent; Sarah throws off her test worries, loneliness—and voice. As sidekick to bitter Robin, she does what’s demanded and barely talks. The two other friends stick around, one trading insults and the other in tears, as Sarah fades away. Robin’s suicide attempt and refusal to speak to Sarah from the hospital throws Sarah into a despair worse than before. A steady mother, the presence of the old friends (unreliability notwithstanding), and a role in a play gently guide Sarah towards a seedling voice and sense of self. Graceful. (Fiction. YA)