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Watch Over Me
Cover of Watch Over Me
Watch Over Me
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A modern ghost story about trauma and survival, Watch Over Me is the much-anticipated new novel from the Printz Award-winning author of We Are Okay★ “Gripping; an emotion-packed...
A modern ghost story about trauma and survival, Watch Over Me is the much-anticipated new novel from the Printz Award-winning author of We Are Okay★ “Gripping; an emotion-packed...
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Description-

  • A modern ghost story about trauma and survival, Watch Over Me is the much-anticipated new novel from the Printz Award-winning author of We Are Okay
    ★ “Gripping; an emotion-packed must-read.” –Kirkus, starred review
    ★ “A painfully compelling gem from a masterful creator.” –Booklist, starred review 
    ★ “Moving, unsettling, and full of atmospheric beauty.” –SLJ, starred review 
     
    Mila is used to being alone.
    Maybe that’s why she said yes. Yes to a second chance in this remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.
    But she hadn’t known about the ghosts.
    Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a teaching job and a place to live on an isolated part of the Northern California coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home—a real home. The farm is a refuge, but it’s also haunted by the past. And Mila’s own memories are starting to rise to the surface.
     
    Nina LaCour, the Printz Award–winning author of We Are Okay, delivers another emotional knockout with Watch Over Me about trauma and survival, chosen family and rebirth.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    had we been telling the truth

    On the morning of my interview I slept until eight, went downstairs to the kitchen, and poured myself the last of the coffee. I stood at the counter, watching out the window as I sipped, and then pushed up my sleeves and turned on the water to wash the breakfast dishes that Amy and ­Jonathan had left stacked in the sink.

    In just a few days, I would leave them.

    Amy had bought a crib and tucked it into the garage. A few days after that, she came home with a bag from a toy store. A stuffed bunny peeked over the side. She asked me how my English final went and I told her that I wrote about the collapse of social mores in a couple of short stories and she said it sounded great. And then she took the bag into their bedroom as though it were nothing.

    She was only being kind. I knew that. They hadn't asked me to stay.

    The sink was empty. I scrubbed it until it was perfectly white and then I turned off the water. I tried to breathe. I tried not to want this so badly.

    My phone buzzed.

    "Are you ready?" Karen asked. She'd been my social worker for four years and even though I could tell she was in traffic, probably dribbling coffee on her skirt and checking her email as she talked to me, she calmed my racing heart.

    "I think so," I said.

    "Remember—­they read your letter. I've told them so much about you. They've talked to all your references. This is just a final step. And you get to make sure you really want it."

    "I want it."

    "I know you do, honey. I want it for you too. Call me as soon as it's over."

    He knocked at ten thirty, exactly when he said he'd arrive.

    "Mila?" he asked when I opened the door. He stuck out his hand. "Nick Bancroft. So nice to finally meet you."

    I led him into the kitchen, where a round table sat beneath a window in the sun and the chairs were close enough for friendly conversation but far enough apart for strangers.

    "How are you doing?" he asked after we sat.

    "Well, finals are over, so that's good," I said.

    "Yes, congratulations. Your transcripts are solid. Have you considered college?"

    I shrugged. "Maybe I'll go at some point."

    He nodded, but I saw that he felt sorry for me. My eyes darted to the window. I didn't know how to talk about my life with someone who understood. I clenched a fist in my lap and forced myself not to cry. I was ready to prove my work ethic, talk about the hours I spent volunteering at the library, and assure him that I was not afraid of dirt or messes or children throwing tantrums—­but I was not ready for this.

    "So, let me tell you about Terry and Julia and the farm," he said, taking mercy on me. "They adopted me when I was three, so it's been home basically all my life. I haven't lived at the farm in a long time, but I help them run the finances and I do all the interviews." I felt my fist unclench and I settled into the chair and listened to him tell me about the things I had already learned from talking to Karen and reading a San Francisco Chronicle article from fifteen years ago with the headline "Mendocino Couple Adopts Fortieth Foster Child." He talked about the farm and how everyone contributes to running it, from the children to the interns, and how as an intern I would spend my weekdays teaching in the schoolhouse and my Sundays waking up at five a.m. to run the booth at the farmers' market. He told me about the holidays when all the grown-­up children come back to visit. "It becomes home if you let it," he said. "Even for the interns. I know that might sound hard to believe, but it's true."

    "When do I find...

About the Author-

  • Nina LaCour is the author of the widely acclaimed Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You, and the Michael L. Printz Award-winner, We Are Okay. She is also the coauthor, with David Levithan of You Know Me Well. Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, she now writes and parents full time. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives with her family in Martinez, California. www.ninalacour.com

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 10, 2020
    Mila, 18, is thrilled to leave behind four years of foster care when she is given the opportunity to live and work at a picturesque coastal farm in Northern California whose owners, Terry and Julia, care for adopted children of all ages and bring on interns to share the workload. Mila, haunted by the events that led to her mother’s abandoning her, wants desperately to believe that she is “good,” and she strives to be a trusted companion and compassionate teacher to her sole student on the farm, nine-year-old Lee. The two bond over their similar histories, made-up fairy tales, and a shared sense of distance from the rest of the close-knit community, including their dislike of the ghosts that inhabit the idyllic, foggy farm. As mysterious gifts that link to Mila’s past begin appearing on her doorstep, she confronts memories of childhood trauma, told in short interstitial chapters. Printz Medalist LaCour’s (We Are Okay) portrait of a young woman yearning to belong and facing her past while navigating the liminal space between childhood and adulthood brims with tender moments and sensory details. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties.

  • AudioFile Magazine Jorjeana Marie's quiet, somber narration adds to the eerie beauty of this haunting story about grief, chosen family, and the ghosts we carry. When 18-year-old Mila ages out of the foster system, she takes a job on a remote farm on the California coast. The farm is home to children with nowhere to go, who all carry pain similar to Mila's. Marie's raw, husky voice is melodic and mesmerizing. She imbues her narration with the rhythms of the sea and wind, transporting listeners to the farm where trauma, love, healing, and magic mix. As she expertly captures the many stages of Mila's journey from pain and denial to joy, she also creates memorable voices for young children and ghosts. This is an absolutely gorgeous listen. L.S. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2021

    Mila has long been haunted by her past, both in memory and by the ghosts that follow her. When she ages out of foster care, Mila gains a placement as a teacher at an isolated farm in Northern California. Terry and Julia are known for taking in foster children with troubled pasts, but Mila doesn't realize that it's not only children who live at the farm; ghosts claim the space as well. As she becomes more at home at the farm, the hauntings increase and so do the memories she is desperately trying to escape, the things she's done in her past that creep into her daily life. Mila struggles with being accepted and welcomed, which conflict with her own sense of worth and feelings of guilt and regret. The audiobook is read by Jorjeana Marie, and her gentle and melodic voice brings LaCour's atmospheric story to life. She captures the feel of the isolation on the farm, the spooky but not scary presence of the ghosts, and the melancholy sadness that aches in Mila. Her narration coupled with LaCour's emotional text bring the story alive around the listener. It's a moving tale of loneliness, regret, acceptance, and forgiveness. VERDICT Fans of LaCour's previous YA novels will not be disappointed by this hauntingly beautiful tale. The audiobook is a cathartic masterpiece and will evoke strong emotions in listeners.--Erica Coonelly, Monroe Township M.S., NJ

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2021

    Gr 9 Up-Mila has long been haunted by her past, both in memory and by the ghosts that follow her. When she ages out of foster care, Mila gains a placement as a teacher at an isolated farm in Northern California. Terry and Julia are known for taking in foster children with troubled pasts, but Mila doesn't realize that it's not only children who live at the farm, but ghosts claim the space as well. As she becomes more at home at the farm, the hauntings increase the memories she is desperately trying to escape, the things she's done in her past that creep into her daily life. Mila struggles with being accepted and welcomed, conflicting with her own sense of worth and feelings of guilt and regret. The audiobook is read by Jorjeana Marie, and her gentle and melodic voice brings LaCour's atmospheric story to life; she captures the feel of the isolation on the farm, the spooky but not scary presence of the ghosts, and the melancholy that aches in Mila. Her narration coupled with LaCour's emotional text brings the story alive around the listener. It's a moving tale of loneliness, regret, acceptance, and forgiveness. VERDICT Fans of LaCour's previous novels will not be disappointed by this hauntingly beautiful tale; the audiobook is a masterful performance of an artistically prolific work. LaCour's latest novel is a cathartic masterpiece and will evoke strong emotions in listeners of this audiobook.-Erica Coonelly, Monroe Township M.S., NJ

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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