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Annotation: This timely, emotionally-resonant story about a teen girl dealing with the aftermath of a tragic shooting is a must-read... more
Catalog Number: #238795
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 368
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-547-60358-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8617-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-547-60358-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8617-1
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A teen unexpectedly faces the harsh realities of gun violence.Sixteen-year-old Johanna Carlson has spent her life yearning to know what her mother was like; the maternal grandparents who raised her won’t discuss the daughter they lost. Johanna is resigned to live a quiet, stifling life in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her besties, Gabby and Leah, and maybe shake things up with the cute new transfer student, Milo. When her estranged father writes asking to meet, she hesitantly accepts his offer. Her father brings years of memories and pictures to share, but he also reveals that the story of the car accident she thought her mother died in was a lie her grandparents told. The truth: As a toddler, Johanna found an unsecured, loaded handgun and accidentally shot her mother. With her world in a tailspin, Johanna must find a way to forgive the adults who have abandoned and lied to her but also, more importantly, herself. The first-person narrative moves along at a steady pace, offering readers the rarely heard perspective of a child who is both the cause and victim of gun violence while also covering social issues such as bullying and religion. Johanna is white, Gabby is black, and Leah is Jewish and bisexual.A valuable take on a timely issue. (Fiction. 14-18)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 Up Johanna has lived with her grandparents since her mother died in a car accident when she was a toddler. Happy with her best friends, Gabby and Leah, and with a growing mutual attraction with newcomer Milo, Johanna leads the life of a typical teenager. Then the father who abandoned her long ago returns and reveals the shattering truth: When she was only three, Johanna came across a gun and accidentally killed her mother. Furious with the lie and devastated by her role in her mother's death, Johanna isn't prepared for the situation to get worse; then Gabby blurts out the story at school. Students on both sides of the gun safety issue clash, and when Johanna plans to paint a mural at school highlighting gun control, events and feelings spiral further out of hand. Ever-patient Milo struggles with Johanna's ferocious anger and grief, while Johanna must face hard truths about her father and begin a journey with her grandparents that could lead to healing. Richards deftly explores the myriad emotional struggles after an accidental gun death. Johanna is a compelling and unique character, and readers will empathize with the self-hatred she experiences. The growing relationship with Milo is sweetly evoked, and tempers the sobering themes. And while all the characters are richly delineated, the author stays true to the ravaged heart and soul of Johanna. In her impassioned voice, gun safety issues and statistics truly resonate. VERDICT Tragic, moving and genuine, this is a must for middle school and high school collections and should prove highly popular. Lee De Groft, Jamestown H.S., Williamsburg, VA
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School Library Journal Starred Review (6/1/20)
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12

This timely, emotionally-resonant story about a teen girl dealing with the aftermath of a tragic shooting is a must-read from an exciting new YA talent. Johanna has had more than enough trauma in her life. She lost her mom in a car accident, and her father went AWOL when Johanna was just a baby. At sixteen, life is steady, boring . . . maybe even stifling, since she's being raised by her grandparents who never talk about their daughter, her mother Mandy. Then he comes back: Robert Newsome, Johanna's father, bringing memories and pictures of Mandy. But that's not all he shares. A tragic car accident didn't kill Mandy--it was Johanna, who at two years old, accidentally shot her own mother with an unsecured gun. Now Johanna has to sort through it all--the return of her absentee father, her grandparents' lies, her part in her mother's death. But no one, neither her loyal best friends nor her sweet new boyfriend, can help her forgive them. Most of all, can she ever find a way to forgive herself? In a searing, ultimately uplifting story, debut author Alex Richards tackles a different side of the important issue that has galvanized teens across our country.

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