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Young Adult Fiction Siblings

If Only

by (author) Becky Citra

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2013
Siblings, Violence, Mysteries & Detective Stories
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

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


Fifteen-year-old Pam is assaulted when she and her twin brother, Danny, are walking home through the woods. Danny is frozen with fear and does nothing; luckily, Pam is rescued by a woman out walking her dog. Pam deals with the trauma by isolating herself while Danny struggles with the shame of not protecting his sister. His shame is compounded by their father's contempt, and Danny decides to redeem himself by finding Pam's attacker. In the process, he discovers a family secret, and Pam connects with new friends who help her regain her confidence.

About the author

Becky Citra is the author of over twenty books for children, ranging from early chapter books to novels for young adults. She was an elementary schoolteacher for over twenty-five years and began writing for children in 1995. Becky’s books have been shortlisted for and won many awards, including the Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow, the Silver Birch and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. She lives in Bridge Lake, British Columbia. For more information, visit

Becky Citra's profile page


  • Short-listed, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize nominee

Editorial Reviews

"Although this easily could be a contemporary story, and the historical setting plays little part in the central drama, she sets it in 1968, lending a bit of nostalgia to the narrative...It’s a sensitive tale, offering emotional insight into the two adolescents, their friends and family. An engaging portrait of siblings caught in the blame game."

Kirkus Reviews

"Short chapters alternate between Danny’s and Pam’s perspectives and illustrate with heartbreaking clarity the growing distance between the once-close twins as they cope separately with their feelings of guilt. The characters’ reactions to a highly traumatic experience are realistic without being graphic, and sensitive but in no way sentimentalized. Citra’s sparse and direct writing move the action along at a pace that will draw readers in and keep them reading."


"Citra is good at revealing the characters’ thoughts and feelings, which ring true...Attempted rape, assault, the harm of gossip and thoughtless criticism, the meaning of friendship—all are touched upon and effectively portrayed."


"Give this novel to teenagers who like realistic fiction."

School Library Journal

"An entertaining and compelling read. The prose is deft and clean, and the development of the appealing characters unfolds seamlessly. The pace can be somewhat hypnotic at times, and, in the end, the modest threads of the story come together to form a very well-crafted big picture."

CM Magazine

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