Joel Higgins has seen a thing or two and is trying to come to terms with his new life after a loss. He’s happiest when he’s volunteering at the soup kitchen with Eli on Wednesday nights; she is perfect after all. Even though he’s happy, he can’t ignore the problems he sees around him. People, mostly veterans, are hungry and homeless. Instead, he writes texts he’ll never send. They may not truly fix the world but it’s a start. Joel is thoughtful and kind and these traits guide him through a tough time while making him new friends. Reilly explores a world like our own—one with sadness but also hope and new beginnings.
- Clare— From Clare's Recs
About the Author
"Despite the tough topics, the resolution leaves room for hope and growth... A high-interest read for its exploration of complex topics without simple answers."—Kirkus Reviews
"In a debut filled with heart and wit, Reilly draws a memorable portrait of a teen struggling with big problems beyond his control...This novel traces with remarkable sensitivity how a vulnerable adolescent becomes less absorbed in his own suffering as he reaches out to others."—Publishers Weekly
"Many characters deal with profound grief and devastating loss, which is explored honestly and unflinchingly. All of the teen characters have distinct and authentic voices...Contemporary issues such as PTSD, homeless veterans, and banned books are woven throughout, but never in an overly obvious or preachy manner...Recommended for readers who enjoy thoughtful realistic novels that cover difficult topics."—School Library Journal
"Joel Higgins's voice is just as strong as Holden [Caulfield]'s, but far more contemporary and far less problematic...It made me cry on two different occasions, definitely a mark of excellence."—NPR
"Joel's voice has a grim, ironic humor that spins from the serious to the quotidian concerns of a sophomore in high school reeling from the aftermath of personal loss... With its spirit of ethical social commitment and its exploration of the what-ifs of being left behind after the death of your important person, this will have broad appeal for teen readers."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books