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published: Nov 2015


by Martine Leavitt

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mental illness
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $14.95
also available: eBook Audiobook
published: Nov 2015

Winner of the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for Young People's Literature — Text

In the town of Leamington, Ontario, a seventeen-year-old boy is suddenly stricken by a schizophrenic episode and wakes up in hospital. The boy’s name is Calvin, and he is plagued by hallucinations.

As the hallucinations persist, Calvin comes to believe that the answer lies in performing one grand and incredible gesture.

And so he decides to walk across Lake Erie. In January. The temperatures have been below freezing for weeks. The ice should hold…

The lake, it turns out, is more marvelous, and more treacherous, than Calvin had ever imagined — populated by abandoned cars (joy ride!), ice-fishing eccentrics, psychokiller snow beings, and a not-so-mythical sea witch named Jenny Greenteeth.

Not to mention the man-eating tiger that looms just out of his sight lines as he treks.

But the biggest surprise of all is that Calvin finds himself accompanied by Susie, the girl of his dreams. Or is it his dreams that have conjured up Susie?

Part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel, Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

About the Author
Martine Leavitt is an award-winning author and highly respected creative writing teacher. She has won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Governor General’s Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize.
Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
12 to 18
7 to 12
  • Short-listed, White Pine Award
  • Commended, IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities
  • Commended, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature – Text
  • Commended, OLA Top Ten Best Bets
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens
  • Commended, Shelf Awareness Best YA Books of the Year
Editorial Reviews

Funny, intellectual, and entertaining, it’s a sensitive yet irreverent adventure about a serious subject.

— Publishers Weekly

Equal parts coming-of-age tale, survival adventure, and love story, this outstanding novel also sensitively deals with an uncommon but very real teen issue, making it far more than the sum of its parts.


Leavitt's writing is virtually flawless . . . just the right amount of comic savvy and emotional intelligence.

— Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

The first-person narrative eschews quotation marks and dialogue tags, further blurring the lines between real life and what’s in Calvin’s head. . . . Memorable.


A fresh, funny voice that never diminishes the seriousness of schizophrenia. . . . Leavitt delivers an imaginative exploration of mental illness, examining what’s real and what’s true in this magical world.


This is a gentle and unique story about a boy struggling with schizophrenia; while Calvin is indeed having grandiose visions that include a beloved cartoon character, he is funny, charming, and smart.

— School Library Journal

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