LITTLE JAGGED EDGES
(young adult realistic fiction)
High school senior Lily Mallory’s life is a mess. Her brother Josh’s Asperger’s seems worse than ever, her mother is reeling after her recent divorce, and her sheltered New York private school suddenly feels tiny and suffocating. And with college acceptances looming ahead, nothing in her life feels secure.
Lily’s obsessions over food grow more intense. She plans every calorie she consumes in a hidden notebook, and sneaks into the kitchen late at night to binge and purge. She exercises obsessively and scrutinizes herself in the mirror, hating what she sees. Her world shrinks, slowly at first, as she falls into the isolation and punishing cycles of anorexia and bulimia.
When a scathing article features Lily and her boyfriend Ben, everyone at school — including her best friends Eloise and Helen — shun her. Desperate for a friend, Lily turns to personal and vulnerable journal exchanges with her young English teacher, Greta Jacobs. The two quickly form a bond over a shared love of books, and then over their negative body images. As their unhealthy relationship grows, it morphs into something mutually damaging. Instead of helping her, Lily’s friendship with Greta only pushes Lily further into her disease.
Eventually Lily must see Greta for who she really is. Little Jagged Edges is the story of a young woman who ultimately must find herself, even as she actively tries to disappear.
TAKING THE REINS
(middle grade realistic fiction)
There’s nothing Levi Abrams loves more than spending time at Sweet Apple Therapeutic Horseback Riding. And now that he’s in middle school, he can finally participate in Horsemanship Workshop and take care of the horses as well as ride them.
But just before the start of sixth grade, Levi discovers that Sweet Apple might be in big financial trouble. He worries obsessively, sure that the Barn he loves is going to close. Shortly thereafter, when Levi learns his best friend Sylvie is going to a different middle school, he fully unravels. Anxiety ripples through every facet of his life and deepens in new, terrifying ways as he counts in fours, bites his tongue, and scratches at his neck until it bleeds. Desperate to help Sweet Apple, he turns first to Sylvie, and then to the other kids in his Workshop to help organize a fundraiser to save the Barn. As his anxiety spirals into obsessive compulsive disorder, he reluctantly begins therapy. He carries a “ban book” and learns to challenge his negative thoughts. But it feels impossible, especially without Sylvie. And as soon as the Sweet Apple fundraiser begins to take shape, another challenge arises—one with consequences too terrifying to face.
Levi’s love of the Barn fuels his struggle to climb out of OCD’s grip and drives a story that explores mental health, changing friendships, and learning to take risks for what you love. Central to the story, too, is Levi’s relationship with the horses at Sweet Apple. Riding, caring for the horses, and the connections he builds with the other kids from his workshop eventually help Levi to understand that that he doesn’t have to be controlled by worry, or his OCD. As he struggles to both save the barn and forge a path of his own, he finds that he’s got a whole lot more to offer than he thought.
A SPACE FOR TWO
BIG has big ideas and a big, booming voice — when he’s around he seems to take up all the space. Little will do just about anything to get his BIG brother’s attention, but BIG hardly notices. And when they do play together, BIG always takes over Little’s little ideas with his own. Is Little invisible when BIG is around? Until a thunderstorm comes… and it just might be the perfect way for Little to find a way to make a big impact. Maybe there’s space for them both, after all?
A PERFECT SNOWBALL
Every Sunday, Leo and his papa go looking for magic. But today the city is veiled in thick snow. At first it seems like all the magic has disappeared, but when Leo and his papa stumble upon a man selling snowballs on a street corner, an unexpected encounter reminds him that magic is everywhere, even in the most ordinary of objects. Inspired by artist David Hammons’ Bliz-aard-Ball Sale, 1983.