Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
- Reading age: 14 to 18
2016 VOYA Top Shelf Fiction Selection
Anna has always been so level-headed, so easy-going, so talented and funny. How could anyone have guessed she wanted to die?
Anna is not like other people. She’s always felt like she didn’t belong: not with other kids, not with her family, not in her body. It isn’t until her grandparents are killed in a tragic accident, however, that Anna starts to feel untethered. She begins to wonder what it would be like if she didn’t exist, and the thought of escaping the aimless drifting is the only thing that brings her comfort.
When Anna overdoses on prescription painkillers, doctors realize she has been suffering from depression and start looking for a way to help her out of the desperate black hole she never thought she would escape. It’s then that rock bottom comes into sight and the journey back to normal begins.
About the author
Christina Kilbourne was born in Southwestern, Ontario, then moved and spent her elementary and high school years in Muskoka, a resort area two hours north of Toronto. She graduated with an Honours BA in English Literature from the University of Western Ontario in 1990 and completed her Masters degree in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Windsor, Ontario. Upon graduating Christina travelled across Africa, Mexico, Central and South America and has lived two years in New Zealand, her husband’s home country. Christina has worked in various jobs writing for newsletters, brochures, handbooks reports and websites for such organizations as CIBC Bank, the Auckland University of Technology, the Regional Municipality of York, and most recently, Conservation Ontario. Christina currently lives with her husband and two children near Mt. Albert, Ontario.
- Commended, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
Addictive and powerful.
Kilbourne’s writing is strong; the novel is engaging, easy to read, and flawlessly alternates between the voices of three narrators … [she] delivers a gritty story that highlights the importance of friendship and family bonds.
Quill and Quire
With professional help, Anna realizes that she has everything to live for. With Kilbourne’s help, readers will have a better understanding of teen depression.
Told in alternating first-person perspectives that include Anna; her mother; and Anna’s best friend, Aliya, this novel sheds light on mental illness.
Thoughtfully addresses the topic of suicide through the story of Anna, a young artist who seems to have it all.
A convincing and affecting narrative about depression, stressing the fact that it is not the sufferer’s fault.
Use this short but detailed book in a classroom or book club setting to start a candid discussion on depression as a mental illness.
Detached is a brave book.