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Young Adult Fiction Suicide

Cuts Like a Knife

by (author) Darlene Ryan

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2012
Suicide, Friendship, Mental Illness
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2012
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


Daniel has been crazy about Mac from the moment she transferred to his school. She's smart, funny, loyal and fiercely independent. The only problem is, when life gets too hard for Mac, she runs away. But she always comes back.

Except now Mac's grandmother is dead, their house is about to be torn down and she's been humiliated in front of the entire school. When Daniel finds out Mac has been saying goodbye to her friends, he realizes she's planning on leaving for good. Getting more and more desperate as he searches the city, Daniel finds an unexpected and unlikely ally. But can he find Mac before he loses her forever?

About the author

Darlene Ryan has been writing for as long as she can remember, although she pursued post-secondary degrees in biology and education. Despite being endlessly fascinated by theories on the origin of the universe, she decided she wasn't cut out to be a scientist and returned to writing. Darlene was the 2006 poet recipient of the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award. As Sofie Kelly, she writes the best-selling Magical Cats mysteries. She lives with her family in Fredericton, New Brunswick. More information is available at

Darlene Ryan's profile page


  • Short-listed, YALSA Quick Picks nominee
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books starred selection

Excerpt: Cuts Like a Knife (by (author) Darlene Ryan)

What had Mac said? Tomorrow everything would be gone. Did she mean herself too?

Editorial Reviews

"Another fast-paced, high-interest book from the Orca Soundings series...Told in the first person, Daniel's voice comes across as genuine...Teens will be readily able to relate to Daniel and his dilemma."

Resource Links

"Strong characters and a twisting plot make this novel one the reader will not be able to put down...Orca Soundings continues to create realistic, engrossing reads that appeal to reluctant readers, but can be enjoyed by any young adult."

Tri State YA Book Review Committee

"This Hi-Lo book had surprising depth for such a short read. The author covers all the danger signs that a suicidal person might exhibit. The main character is earnest and likable...Great for struggling or reluctant readers who want an intense, gritty story."

NJ Youth Services

"Deals realistically with the issues at hand, especially Mac's depression...The characters are likeable and easy to relate to, especially Daniel and his quirky and sweet mom. The interesting characters, fast pace of the novel, and compelling story are sure to keep both male and female readers interested."

CM Magazine

"While the book is certainly aimed at struggling readers, Ryan's foreshadowing of Mac's suicide attempt is subtle enough to satisfy sophisticated readers, and the references to music studies may make this story appealing to musicians."

School Library Journal

Other titles by Darlene Ryan