cover image Girl on the Line

Girl on the Line

Faith Gardner. HarperTeen, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-0630-2230-0

Bisexual 18-year-old Journey Smith is trying to piece her life back together after a suicide attempt. Classes at the local city college; a new friendship with her crush, Etta; and a volunteer job at a crisis hotline provide moments of genuine happiness, but recovery is neither simple nor straightforward. She doubts her bipolar diagnosis, is still haunted by the breakup and traumatic car accident that led to her downward spiral, and struggles to rebuild relationships with loved ones. Journey is a sarcastic poet, and her voice reflects that, shifting seamlessly from resonant prose to humorous observation (“Everyone keeps asking how I’m doing and I say fine. Fine can also mean a very small particle, you know”). Alternating between the past—the days immediately following Journey’s hospitalization—and the present several months later, the narrative also includes Journey’s frequent addresses to her past and future selves, reinforcing the often-nonlinear nature of healing. There are no easy answers in Gardner’s (The Second Life of Ava Rivers) tough but deeply rewarding latest, but there is hope in its message that there is no singularly correct road to recovery—and that the journey is worthwhile. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Claire Anderson-Wheeler, Regal Hoffmann and Assoc. (Jan.) [/em]