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From the critically acclaimed author of DEPOSING NATHAN comes an explosive examination of identity, voice, and the indelible ways our stories are rewritten by others.
In the beginning, Owen’s story was blank . . . then he was befriended by Lily, the aspiring author who helped him find his voice. Together, the two have spent years navigating first love and amassing an inseparable friend group. But all of it is upended one day when his school’s administration learns Owen’s secret: that he was sexually assaulted by a classmate.
In the ensuing investigation, everyone scrambles to hold their worlds together:
Owen, still wrestling with his self-destructive thoughts and choices.
His father, a mission-driven military vet ready to start a war to find his son’s attacker.
The school bureaucrats, who seem most concerned with kowtowing to the local media attention.
And Lily, who can’t learn that Owen is the mystery victim everyone is talking about . . . because once she does, it will set off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.
Heartbreaking and hopeful, this is a coming-of-age story that explores how we rebuild after the world comes crumbling down.
“Stellar and haunting”
– Kirkus Magazine, starred review
“Equal parts heartfelt and heartbreaking [. . .] an unflinching exploration of love, betrayal, power, and trauma, and ultimately, what it means to speak your truth in a world that’s never truly been willing to listen. A brilliant read.”
– Stephanie Kuehn, Morris Award-winning author of CHARM & STRANGE
“No one does heartbreak like Zack Smedley. In this story, he weaves an intimate human drama into a thriller of almost mythic power…with brilliant detail and care.”
– Adam Sass, award-winning author of SURRENDER YOUR SONS
“Promoted by the publisher as ‘Speak for boys,’ Smedley’s second novel is troubling but deeply felt and extremely well written […] the thoughtful presentation of such a rare topic in YA fiction is welcome.”
– Booklist Magazine
“An achingly beautiful novel. Each character was meticulously realized to create a puzzle piece of a narrative that kept me guessing, wishing, and hoping for Owen’s self-empowered journey to the very end. This is an incredibly important read.”
– James Brandon, author of Ziggy, Stardust & Me
“An important, authentic, thought-provoking story . . . Owen is a character I’ll remember for a long time.”
– Bill Konigsberg, award-winning author of THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS
“Unflinchingly honest and powerful. . .Smedley’s authentic, thoughtful voice is essential to young readers.”
– Julian Winters, award-winning author of HOW TO BE REMY CAMERON
A painful and important look at toxic relationships, rape, power, and control.”
– School Library Journal
Content warnings can be found here.