Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
Kacey and Sara have been the best of friends since grade three. They did everything together. But then Kacey left and Sara had to learn to cope with her life after that moment. She knows everyone at school is staring and whispering about her behind her back. And the "Obnoxious Counsellor" that her parents force her to meet with thinks writing letters to Kacey in a journal will help Sara deal with her grief. Her parents and teachers are trying to convince her that life needs to get back to normal — but how can anything ever be normal again? She and Kacey had plans — college together, vacations around the world, best friends together forever. But then Kacey chose to end her life and Sara was left to try to understand what it all meant.
Dawn Green's novel for young adults is an emotional and moving look at a young teenage girl's journey towards understanding after her best friend's suicide.
About the author
graduated from the University of Victoria with degrees in languages and education. She is a high school Spanish and English teacher, basketball coach, and volunteers with Special Olympics BC. She enjoys living on the west coast, and when she is not working with youth she can be found reading a good novel in the corner of a cozy cafï¿½ or walking on the beach with her dog Tanner. When Kacey Left is her first (but definitely not her last) novel.
"When Kacey Left is an exceptional balance of authentic voice, communicating the complex emotions of hurt, confusion, anger and hopeful information, portraying the small steps that add up to the process of finding well-being on the other side of the pain."
— VOYA Magazine
"Dawn Green's succinct story for high schoolers examines bewilderment, and displays a talent for portraying the unsettling feeling of being defined as the best friend of the girl who died. . . Without seeming didactic, the novel ably depicts some of the realities of suicide, the most rending of which may be the fact that there is never an adequate explanation for why. Intense in its accumulation of gestures, words, and impressions, When Kacey Left allows the subject of suicide to become not an event but the beginning of a larger conversation."
— Foreword Reviews one of the best YA of Fall 2015
"Green's raw and achingly honest debut does a masterful job capturing the intense spectrum of emotions felt by a teenage girl trying to make sense of the senseless… An honest and heartbreaking journey toward healing."
— Kirkus Starred Review
"Green shows the expert touch of someone who knows teens well, and can speak their truth... Young readers will benefit from this open and raw portrayal. Green refuses to offer simplistic answers to a complex topic, but succeeds in validating the emotional experiences."
— Resource Links Magazine
"Dawn Green has done a great service to bringing suicide out of the closet and to the forefront of discussions by addressing what can happen in its aftermath. By allowing Sara to share her own questions about Kacey taking her own life and trying to find answers whether through research, journaling or social discourse, Dawn Green will allow any young person who reads this book to take a closer look at suicide."
— CanLit for LittleCanadians
"This intriguing epistolary novel handles the sensitive subject of teen suicide by exploring what happens in the aftermath, an all-too-frequent reality for many young adults."