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“You have to go through all the darkness….If you don’t, it will devour you.”

Driven, outgoing Sage Zendasky, Southview
High’s star volleyball player, scouted by top colleges, finds her world
shattered after a medical diagnosis that robs her of the ability to play. The
unfortunately named Len Madder, the school outcast, is losing hope of winning
the photography scholarship that could get her to college and is crippled by
the fear that she’s losing her mind. A moment of under-the-bleachers panic
draws the two girls together, and a tentative friendship forms. Finding little
support from others, Sage and Len take solace in each other, each girl helping
the other to heal. But as they spiral deeper into their private despair, their
refusal to realize that they themselves need help might just cost them their
friendship—and their lives. Carpenter weaves an incredibly rich tale of female
friendship, beautifully written and refreshingly free of romance. Both
characters feel wholly realistic in their interactions with each other, their
families, their teachers, and their peers. A litany of painful topics—mental health,
medical trauma, aging, grief and loss, financial insecurity, social isolation,
and more—is handled with a deft touch that is equal parts humorous and
heart-wrenching. A description of the author’s own battle with OCD emphasizes
the story’s positive attitude toward seeking help.

A powerful, tender reminder of the importance of friendship in times of trauma.
(author’s note, mental health resources)
(Fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: yesterday

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6758-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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