All posts in the ‘YA’ Category

Dear Isabel, a Relationship Advice Blog Post Brought to You by the Starry Night Blog Tour

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If there’s one thing Isabel Gillies knows about, it’s love. As readers know from her bestselling memoir, Happens Every Day, and her follow-up, A Year and Six Seconds, she’s been through it all and lived to tell about it. Her young adult fiction debut, Starry Night, also focuses on the highs and lows of romance, and the many ways that romantic relationships shape our overall lives. Reading it inspired many Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group staffers to start thinking about our own love lives which, like those of the characters in Starry Night, are far from perfect- so we decided to seek advice from an expert. Below, please find guidance from Isabel on some real-life love quandaries.

Dear Isabel,

After a break up, what is the best way to transition to being friends if that is what you both want? Is there a tried and true strategy? –Puzzled in Publicity

isabelgillies_photoTried and True? Probably not. But the great news is that if friendship is what you really want, you will be friends! In my experience people usually get what they want—even if they want bad things. (Sometimes we do want things that aren’t great for us, even if we are not aware of it.) Being friends with ex’s is GOOD. I am friends with 98% of the guys I dated, and even if we are not best friends (because we don’t live close or just lost touch) we definitely would be friendly and have a good time at lunch or something. Time is a factor. You may need to not hang out for a while to break the romantic habits like holding hands. And time will also help with the classic problem of one person saying they want to be friends but really wanting to be together —that happens. It depends how serious the relationship was and if feelings are hurt too. You can even be friends with people who really hurt you, you just need time. My nutshell advice: Time.

Dear Isabel,

I’m dating a guy who says he doesn’t want to get serious, but the way he acts—texting all the time, making plans with me for a few nights each week, paying when we go out—suggests he *does* want to get serious. How do I find out if I trust what he says or how he acts? –Edgy in Editorial

Someone once told me a great piece of advice and I have lived by it ever since. Men say what they mean. If this guy says he doesn’t want to be serious, he probably doesn’t. He probably doesn’t even think he is leading you on because he has already said what he wants (men can be bozos about that sometimes). I would just be straight with him, “So, you say you don’t want to be serious, but you are making me think you do by being in such close touch—it’s confusing me.” Asking straight forward questions is the way to go, but you have to believe the answers. I cannot tell you how much time I wasted on guys who flat out told me they didn’t want a relationship, but I didn’t believe them and thought the more time they spent with me, they would surely fall in love with me. They never did. My nutshell advice: Ask clearly one more time, then move on.

Dear Isabel,

I met a guy I really like, but he has a girlfriend. He says they are on a break, though, and he’s looking to see if he can be “swept off his feet” by someone else before deciding if he wants to return to her or move along to someone else. This is the first guy I’ve met in a long time who I felt a real connection to, and things were going so great until I find out about his situation with his girlfriend. I kind of feel like I should stop seeing him, but I don’t want to, and he keeps inviting me out to do things. What do you think? –Dubious in Digital Marketing

WHAT??? Get away from that guy!! Step away. “Looking to see if he can be swept off his feet before he decides?” Yuck. My nutshell advice: Run, don’t walk. There are millions of men out there who will know what they want and it will be you.

Dear Isabel,

I was introduced to this guy by someone I work with, and I’ve hung out with him a few times and we’re set to go out again this weekend. But now my friend who fixed us up is acting kind of jealous, like she’s the one who likes him. What should I do? –Skeptical in School/Library Marketing

Ask her. Don’t have “friend yuck” over a guy. Say, “Hey Laura (whatever), I am kind of dating Jason (whatever), but are you into him?” Always, always better to be open and clear about EVERYTHING. If you feel jealously from her, you are probably correct. Intuition is everything in this life. My nutshell advice: Just ask.

Dear Isabel,

I just found out that my boyfriend lied to me about something pretty serious. I thought he was single when we got together, but it turns out he was still dating his now-ex-girlfriend (I found this out from one of his friend’s girlfriends who is friends with his ex). I think we overlapped by a few weeks. My relationship with my boyfriend is really good except for this one thing, that makes me feel like it’s hard to trust him. If he lied about that, might be lying about other stuff, too? –Doubtful in Design

Well, that’s tricky. I almost want to know how old you are before answering. In principle, lying is bad news bears and doesn’t bode well for the future. I don’t believe I have ever been in an overlap situation that lasted very long. Once I started dating someone I was SO INTO, and about a week in he said, “I think you are awesome, but I just met someone who I am NUTS about, like I’m in-love with her and so we have to stop seeing each other, even though it’s also really great.” I was crushed because he was amazing, but I respected that he fell in love with someone else and was so honest with me.

My nutshell advice: Have a big talk, get it all out on the table and ask why he dated you gals at the same time. Maybe he is young and scared and didn’t have the guts to be honest. Maybe—maybe that can be looked over if it was just a mistake. People make mistakes, but check with your gut a ton. If it’s telling you he has a problem with being truthful and open, maybe time to move on.

Dear Isabel,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years and we have a home, business, and two dogs together. The only thing missing is actual marriage, which he says he doesn’t believe in a piece of paper when clearly he’s committed. I don’t think I’ll ever give up wanting to be married. Not sure where we go from here. I love him and our life, but I want a marriage. What now? –Aggravated in Ad/Promo

You answered your own question. You want marriage! First of all, marriage is not just a piece of paper. Didn’t we learn from the fight for gay marriage in this country that marriage is a lot more than a piece of paper? It’s a legal agreement that gives you many important rights, like getting to be in the hospital when/if your loved one is sick. No, no, no. It’s poop or get off the pot time. Five years is enough to know. My nutshell advice: Ultimatum (in the most loving and understanding way.) “Dude, I love you, I want to have children and be married to you. If you really don’t want to be married, I respect that, but it’s not what I want, so we are not ultimately living with the same goals, and that’s not good. Let’s decide on this soon, like before Thanksgiving. I love you, but it doesn’t make any sense for us to deeply want two different things.”

Dear Isabel,

My last relationship ended abruptly when my partner told me that he ‘loved me but was not in love with me.’ Shortly thereafter, my suspicions that he’d been cheating were confirmed. I am now in a new relationship with a wonderful guy, but I can’t shake the idea that someday he might follow down that same path of lack of infidelity, and it’s made me act crazy and jealous even when I logically know that there is nothing to worry about. How can I put the past behind me?—Morose in Marketing

Well, a big part of myself is singing, “Let it go!” Honestly, people cheat and lie, they just do, and people get burned all the time, but so what? So you got burned, did it kill you? No, in fact you are now with a great guy. Lots and lots of people don’t cheat and lie and maybe this guy is one of those guys! Are you connected? Because that is maybe the more important part. I think that if you feel connected, really in tune with the other person, you are less likely to feel jealous. And it’s hard to feel connected, it takes work on both parts. I would stop worrying about if he is going to cheat or not and start concentrating on making your relationship vibrant and connected. Are you listening to him and he you? Do you go on adventures together (even small adventures like doing a hard crossword puzzle)? Do you make each other laugh? Do you have a lot of good sex? Do you dance in the kitchen? Are you living a fun and happy life with him, and taking on the challenges together as a team? Ask yourself those questions. Advice: People cheat and lie a lot, but I think they will less if you are in a connected relationship, so put your focus on that.

Starry Night by Isabel Gillies is available on 9/2/14!


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Watch the Trial by Fire Book Trailer and Enter a World Where Magic Reigns

The book trailer for Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini was revealed on Monday. In case you missed it, we wanted share it with you right here on our blog. So, without further ado, watch away:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

In Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire, what makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini is available on 9/2/14!


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MacTeenBooks Recommends: August

We know that you love reading, and we do, too. But sometimes you read a book and you’re just not sure where to go from there. MacTeenBooks Recommends is here to help!

This month, we have recommendations for fans of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.




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Winter 2015 Cover Reveal Roundup

Now that summer is coming to an end and you’re about to start reading our Fall 2014 titles, it’s time to get excited for Winter 2015. Because whether you’re dreading saying goodbye to shorts and tanks or can’t wait for scarves and gloves, you’re definitely going to want to read these new books. That’s why we’re sharing some of our recent cover reveals with you—so that you can get a taste of what’s coming up all in one place.

DreamaLittleDream_REV   Fairest_Lo   CutMeFree   Shutter_lo
I'll Meet You There   9780374379896   Adobe Photoshop PDF   9780374300463
Which covers do you love? Which of these titles can you not wait to get your hands on? Let us know in comments, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Tumblr!

Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
On Sale:

The cover of Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier was revealed on RT Book Reviews. Learn more about this new book from the author of the bestselling Ruby Red Trilogy here.


Fairest by Marissa Meyer
On Sale: 1/27/15

The cover of the fourth book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles was revealed on USA Today. Learn more about the series, Queen Levana, and Marissa Meyer here.


Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson
On Sale:

The cover of Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson was revealed on Hypable. Learn more about the book here.


Shutter by Courtney Alameda
On Sale:

The cover of Shutter by Courtney Alameda was revealed on Hypable. Learn all about the book and read an interview with the author here.


I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
On Sale:

The cover of I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios was revealed on Xpresso Reads. Learn about the book (in 140 character or less!) and read an interview with Heather here.

I'll Meet You There

Unchanged by Jessica Brody
On Sale:

The cover of Unchanged by Jessica Brody was revealed on Hypable. Go swoon over the cover of this series finale here.


Skandal by Lindsay Smith
On Sale:

The cover of Skandal by Lindsay Smith was revealed on The Huffington Post. Read an interview with the author, in which you can learn more about the first book in the series, Sekret, here.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
On Sale:

The cover of The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver was revealed on Fiction Fare. Learn more about the book and Trisha’s own relationship with her sister here.


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Quote Roundup: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre came out on 8/5/14! Are you planning on picking up a copy? We’re certain the words from the book will convince you to read it.











Share these quotes on social media with #MortalDanger, get Mortal Danger today, and let us know which quotes are your favorite!

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Blog Tour: Starry Night by Isabel Gillies

Starry Night BlogTourBanner

Starry Night is the first YA romance novel from Isabel Gillies, author of the bestselling memoir, Happens Every Day, and the follow-up, A Year in Six Seconds. To learn more about Starry Night, check out the blog tour, where there will be reviews, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Tuesday, August 26
Fiction Folio

Wednesday, August 27
The Compulsive Reader

Thursday, August 28
Green Bean Teen Queen

Friday, August 29
Paper Cuts

Saturday, August 30
Love is Not a Triangle

Sunday, August 31
Gone With the Words

Monday, September 1

Tuesday, September 2
Jenuine Cupcakes

Starry Night by Isabel Gillies is available on 9/2/14!


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What’s Your Summer Playlist?

Whether you’re taking a road trip, laying out on the beach, or simply chilling at home for the summer, having the right playlist is crucial. That’s why we asked Morgan Matson, author of Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend under the name Katie Finn, to create summer playlists for every personality.

Are you more into country, pop, oldies, or indie? Which character from Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend do you relate to the most? Find out in our What’s Your Summer Playlist? quiz. Take the quiz, find out who you match up with—and get to listening!

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn is available now!


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Blog Tour: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

TrialByFire BlogTourUS

Trial by Fire is the first book in a spellbinding new series by Josephine Angelini, author of the Starcrossed series. To learn more about Trial by Fire, check out the blog tour, where there will be reviews, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Monday, August 25
Feeling Fictional (UK)

Tuesday, August 26
Dark Readers (UK)

Wednesday, August 27
Fluttering Butterflies (UK)

Thursday, August 28
Excellent Reads (UK)

Friday, August 29
Birmingham Waterstones (UK)

Monday, September 1
The Midnight Garden (US)

Tuesday, September 2
FicFare (US)

Wednesday, September 3
On Starships and Dragonwings (US)
MacTeenBooks (US)

Thursday, September 4
Love is Not a Triangle (US)

Friday, September 5
Winterhaven Books (US)

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini is available on 9/2/14!


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Read an Exclusive Q&A with Lindsey Lane and Her Editor, Joy Peskin

We have a special treat for the blog today: a Q&A between Lindsey Lane, author of Evidence of Things Not Seen, and her editor Joy Peskin.

Evidence of Things Not Seen follows the story of Tommy Smythe, a gifted, slightly-odd teenager, who goes missing one day, and the story is told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew him.

In this Q& A, Lane, a debut YA author, discusses her transition to the genre as well as what excites her about young adult audiences. The conversation also delves into Lane’s knack for developing distinct character voices and how setting, specifically landmarks, plays an important part in her book.

Joy Peskin, editor of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: How did this book start for you? What inspired you to write about Tommy’s disappearance?

lindseylaneLindsey Lane, author of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: The book started when I woke up from a dream. I saw a boy standing in the middle of this pull-out by the side of the road. I remember waking up and thinking, “Who are you and what are you doing there?” The answer became the chapter called “Comic Book.” While I was writing it, I started exploring this weird roadside dirt patch. Bit by bit, I came to know and understand the highway, the high school, the Whip In, the ranch right next to the pull-out, and that other characters stopped at the pull-out, too: to kiss, to sleep, to sell watermelons. Everyone had a story. Eventually, I wrote a story about a socially awkward genius boy named Tommy who went missing one day. When I got ahold of this thread, I knew it could weave through all the stories because, however loosely connected, an event like a missing boy and the speculation of what happened would pull the tapestry together.

JP: You’re a playwright—did it ever occur to you to write this story as a play rather than a book?

LL: No, I can’t say it did, but I definitely heard the first-person voices as monologues in my head. I could hear the different ways each of them talked. I could see the characters talking to the sheriff. I definitely think my background in theater helped me make their voices distinct and their stories clear.

JP: This is your debut young adult novel. What drew you to writing for young adults?

LL: What I love about writing for young adults is that everything is possible. The characters in young adult books are trying out their own cosmology. They’re self-involved and idealistic and myopic and visionary all at the same time. They have the energy of their whole lives in front of them and very little context for failure, so they try things. They roll the dice. They have high hopes and wild dreams. So does the young adult audience. Those characters are the audience.

JP: Your ear for characters’ voices is incredible. How did you manage to write from so many different characters’ perspectives so convincingly? How did you keep each character’s voice distinct and unique?

LL: I fell in love with every one of my characters. I longed for each of their longings. I felt their frustrations and disappointments. If I didn’t love them, I couldn’t portray their three-dimensionality. I knew Alvin’s love and hatred of his father. I understood Leann’s inability to love someone because of the betrayals in her family. I resonated with Izzy’s harebrained idea. I ached for Mrs. Smythe. Yeah, I walked their paths. They’re not me. But they are in me.

JP: A major theme in this book is the existence of all possibilities. Do you believe, as Tommy does, that “all possibilities exist”?evidenceofthingsnotseen3d

LL: I remember when I was a teenager. Everything was possible. Everything. It’s tougher to stay awake and alive to every possibility as you get older but it’s possible. Think about it. The sun rises. You have a day planned and a knock comes at your door. Whoosh, something unexpected. Are you going to let that possibility in? It exists. It just knocked on your door.

JP: Karla’s story is probably the most dramatic one in the book. Speaking of possibilities, did other possibilities exist for Karla? Do you think her life could have worked out differently if, as Kimmie Jo says on p. 8, “Like something might have changed if we’d done one thing different before.”

LL: Omygosh, Karla Ray. This is a tragedy beyond measure. If her father hadn’t left . . . If her mother had the skills to have a stable job . . . If Karla had been born into a family that allowed her to be a kid . . . If she had met someone who loved her, who didn’t lie to her, whom she could trust, oh my, her life could have turned out so differently. Yes, one little twist of fate can change so much.

JP: This book is set in a border town in Texas, and you address issues relating to immigration. What made you want to include a character like Maricela, a teenage migrant worker, in this book?

LL: I included Maricela’s story because the migrant population in Texas is woven into the fabric of the workforce and “sewn” into the landscape. They don’t have easy lives, but they work hard trying to make a home. Sometimes after migrant workers start families here, the adults can get deported but their children are left with friends or relatives. It’s a difficult and incomplete existence for those kids. People watch over them, sort of. They carry on with their parents’ dream, sort of. Protecting Nino gives Maricela the kind of family she needs; it makes her feel stronger.

JP: Something readers may take from this book is a greater appreciation of the ways in which we are all connected. What connects these specific characters, other than their relationships with Tommy and the things he left behind? I guess what I’m wondering is, what drew you to their specific narratives. What unites them for you?

LL: At first, it was the pull-out—this roadside patch of dirt—that connected them. It’s halfway between two towns. People stop there all the time but it’s a kind of no-man’s-land. And yet very specific things happen there. Life changing events for some. Simple encounters for others. It is the epiphanies of these characters which unite them.

JP: On p. 218, Tommy writes, “Some people have found that you can’t describe feelings because of what’s known as the specious present. As soon as you observe the exact moment you are in, it is gone.” Given that, how do you think Tommy would feel, or would have felt, to learn the extent to which so many cared about him and were touched by his life and disappearance?

LL: When I was ten years old, I was making a fort in a forest of pine trees near my house. While I was in there, it started snowing. A lot. Little did I know but my parents were freaking out. I finally heard everyone calling for me and wandered out of my pine fortress. I was really surprised and curious by their upset because I wasn’t lost. I knew right where I was and I wasn’t worried. In a way, Tommy would be surprised and curious as well. Like being found wouldn’t have this sense of relief for him because he knows where he is. As for learning how other people felt about him being missing, he would feel awkward. All the upset. All the emotions. It would be overwhelming for Tommy.

JP: You chose not to give the reader any easy answers when it came to what happened to Tommy. Why? Do you know where he went?

LL: I chose not to give an easy answer about what happened to Tommy because, really, I believe life is a mystery. Life doesn’t give us easy answers. It’s more important to look at the “why” of things. As for where Tommy went, some days I think Tommy is in Switzerland working on the Large Hadron Collider. Some days, he is badgering some guy at a bus station to give him a ticket back to Texas because he was kidnapped and dumped someplace in Chicago. Some days, I think he died of thirst looking up at the stars. Some days, I wonder if he ever existed. Perhaps he is a metaphor for that lost feeling we all have in our lives.

Lindsey Lane received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the award-winning picture book Snuggle Mountain (Clarion, 2003). A playwright, Lindsey lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.

Evidence of Things Not Seen comes out on September 16, 2014.

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Mark Your Calendars: September

August is about to end, and that means that if you haven’t started getting excited about the books we have coming out in September, you should really get on that! This September, we have tons of books that are perfect reads for fall. Wtches? Yup! Back to school stories? Yup! Tons more? Yup, yup, yup! Learn more about our September titles below, and be sure to get them on your to-read lists!

tirlabyfire3dTrial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
On Sale: 9/2/14

Worlds collide. Magic reigns. Love burns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

In Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire, what makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

starrynight3dStarry Night by Isabel Gillies
On Sale: 9/2/14

Sometimes one night can change everything. On this particular night, Wren and her three best friends are attending a black-tie party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of a major exhibit curated by her father. An enormous wind blasts through the city, making everyone feel that something unexpected and perhaps wonderful will happen. And for Wren, that something wonderful is Nolan. With his root-beer-brown Michelangelo eyes, Nolan changes the way Wren’s heart beats. In Isabel Gillies’s Starry Night, suddenly everything is different. Nothing makes sense except for this boy. What happens to your life when everything changes, even your heart? How much do you give up? How much do you keep?

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brienvault-of-dreamers-3d
On Sale: 9/16/14

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding — and what it truly means to dream there.

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Laneevidenceofthingsnotseen3d
On Sale: 9/16/14

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pullout off the highway, so maybe someone snatched him. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it may be true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy, Evidence of Things Not Seen by award-winning author Lindsey Lane explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

Firebug by Lish McBridefirebug3d
On Sale: 9/23/14

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hitmen . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her boss, Venus, killed Ava’s mother.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum, in Lish McBride’s Firebug.

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Cromptonadrenalinecrush3d
On Sale: 9/23/14

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a long line of risk-takers and is an avid thrill-seeker in her own right, until she takes a terrible fall and shatters her leg. Her life used to be about bike racing and rock climbing; now it’s about staying home, except for attending physical and group therapy sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center her mom has chosen. Dyna’s boyfriend saw her accident and supports her newfound desire for safety, but a young Iraq war veteran she meets at rehab challenges her to think about what she’s really avoiding in her old life and to take chances again—even with her heart.

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