Synopses & Reviews
When you cant trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?
In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggies tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like its at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when shes hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, theres a new sort of tension between the two of thema tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all shes ever been told is that shes ugly, shes pathetic, shes unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenlyterrifyinglyback in town?
"Although many readers will relate to Maggie Camden's insecurities, which result from the fact that she was bullied in middle school, some like Maggie's best girlfriend Sylvie may be frustrated by her inability to move on with her life. By age 17, Maggie's situation has improved considerably. The taunting has stopped, and she has found a niche for herself, hanging out with Sylvie and hiking with Nick, the boy she secretly likes. Still, Maggie feels inadequate ('How could I forget Raleigh's words about how I make guys gag?'). When her chief tormentor moves back to town, Maggie is overcome by the fear of being targeted again. Her all-consuming worries make her unable to trust friendly overtures from classmates, support Sylvie when her friend needs her most, and become romantically involved with Nick. Hubbard (Try Not to Breathe) persuasively conveys the depth of Maggie's despair and the lingering pain bullying inflicts, but other elements of the novel come across as artificial. It is never clear why Maggie was victimized to begin with, and her archenemy feels manufactured, as does Maggie's eventual rebound. Ages 12 up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Teens will want to cheer."(SLJ
, starred review)
*“Hubbard is outstandingly successful at capturing the frustration of not having the words, especially in a culture that does not encourage boys to express what Ryan is feeling.” (starred review)
*“Evocative symbols, carefully drawn details and hints of romance enrich a spare, redemptive character study. Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted.” (starred review)
"The affecting story addresses issues of real concern without being maudlin. It is well paced and includes a bit of a twist near the end. This poignant novel about a sensitive teen trying to find his spot in the world will definitely find a YA readership."
Praise for Try Not to Breathe:
* "Librarians need to share this title with school counselors, teachers, and administrators. It just could save someones life."--Library Media Connections, starred review * "Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review * "Outstandingly successful."--Publishers Weekly, starred review Nominated for the 2013 - 2014 Kaystone to Reading Book Award
Praise for Until It Hurts to Stop:
"Readers will fall for this thoughtful, expansive, and tender offering."--Booklist
"Gripping and emotionally resonant."--Kirkus Reviews
"The book concludes realistically, with genuinely important insights into recovery from bullying."--VOYA
Fifteen-year-old Colie is spending the summer with her eccentric Aunt Mira while her mother travels. Formerly chubby and still insecure, Colie has built a shell around herself. But her summer with her aunt, her aunt's tenant Norman, and her friends at the Last Chance Diner teaches her some important lessons about friendship and learning to love yourself.
A dark and provocative novel from the author of The Secret Year
Ryan spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall because it's the only thing that makes him feel alive. He's sixteen, post-suicidal, and trying to figure out what to do with himself after a stint in a mental hospital. Then Nicki barges into his world, brimming with life and energy, and asking questions about Ryan's depression that no one else has ever been brave enough--or cared enough--to ask. Ryan isn't sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again. Jennifer R. Hubbard has created a riveting story about a difficult but important subject.
Along she came…
Everyday, Ryan Turner must face the reality that everyone knows what he did. It’s in they way they speak to him. It’s in the way they look at him. Ryan’s only solace comes from the local waterfall, where the violent crashing of the water clears his mind of everything.
But then one day, a girl named Nicki Thornton throws herself into his solitary world. Nicki is direct about his past and determined to crash through the wall of glass that Ryan has put between himself and others. She seeks answers to questions that she knows only Ryan can understand. Nicki dives deeper into his life, opening his heart and getting closer to the shameful secrets that he has tried to bury. Though Ryan knows he does not have all of the answers that she seeks, but he realizes that he may have found an answer to his own questions in her.
“Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted”—Kirkus Reviews
Never underestimate the power of friendship.
When Colie goes to spend the summer at the beach, she doesnt expect much.
But Colie didnt count on meeting Morgan and Isabel.
Through them, she learns what true friendship is all about, and finally starts to realize her potential.
And that just might open the door to her first chance at love. . . .
A down-to-earth Cinderella story. . . captures that special feeling.” The New York Post
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye
About the Author
"I was born in 1970 in Illinois, but all the life I remember Ive spent in Chapel Hill, NC. My parents were both professors at the University of North Carolina: my mom is a classicist (which means she knows everything you could ever imagine about myths, Latin, and words) and my dad teaches Shakespeare (which means Id seen As You Like It
about five times by the age of 18.) I have one brother, who is a musician and lives in California with his son and his wife, an artist who designed my personal website. (Thanks, Mariangeles!)
"Ive been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and Id sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think its just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, its hard not to do it all the time.
"In high school, I was lucky enough to have a big group of girlfriends that have really inspired a lot of the stories in my books. Im still close with my friends from that time, so its never very hard to put myself back into that place, that voice. Also it doesnt hurt to still be living in my hometown, where its a given that Ill bump into people I had homeroom with, or guys I had big crushes on, while Im pumping gas or buying stamps. It makes it hard to leave high school behind entirely, which is a good or bad thing depending on what day you ask me. I attended college at UNC, where I studied creative writing and graduated with a degree in English. (Which means I can quote small parts of many Great Works. Comes in handy occasionally, like at cocktail parties.) Id been on the five-and-a-half year college plan, and when I graduated my parents were hoping Id settle down and get a Real Job so they could stop worrying about me. But instead of doing the whole resume/pantyhose thing, I decided to stick to my job waiting tables at the world famous Flying Burrito Restaurant and try to publish a novel. At the time, I had only one very bad book Id written my senior year of college and the beginnings of another one. Luckily, my family was supportive and I spent a few years living in a ramshackle little house where I wrote during the day and did the restaurant thing at night.
"Three years after graduating, I sold my first book, That Summer, but it wasnt until a year after that that I got offered a teaching job and left waitressing for good. I still miss it sometimes, though. It was a great job for a writer. Endless conversations to eavesdrop, tons of material, and fast money without ever taking work home. Plus, free Mexican food, the best perk of all. Now, Ive published four books, all for young adults. I never really intended to be YA writer, but the second book I showed my agent she thought had a strong teenage voice, so she sent it off to an editor at Orchard Books, who bought it. Even though it was in a way accidental, Ive found that writing for teens suits me. I do short stories, and other novels, that are for an older audience, but again and again I am brought back to the stories of high school. Maybe its because so much happened to me then that Im not finished yet telling everything. My senior quote was from Pink Floyd (okay, I was a bit of a burnout---I spent a lot of time in the parking lot, whatever, lets move on) and it pretty much summed up my future, although I didnt know it at the time. It was: "The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say." It turns out that I did.
"The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldnt tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowrys A Summer to Die or Judy Blumes Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think its the best thing to which any writer can aspire. Now, I teach writing at UNC-Chapel Hill, where Im lucky enough to see my students find their own voice, the way I did in the same program there not so long ago. Teaching is great for me, because I get to show people how writing can really change the way you see not only yourself but the world. Ive found in my own life that if my writing isnt going well, not much else will. It is the one constant, the key to everything else.
"As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and thats a good thing. Its always more fun to make stuff up anyway."