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Optimists Die First
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Optimists Die First
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This touching, hilarious tragi-comedy by award-winning author Susin Nielsen proves: Life is out to get you. But so is love. A quirky alternative to the "sick lit" genre for YA readers. Petula's funny,...
This touching, hilarious tragi-comedy by award-winning author Susin Nielsen proves: Life is out to get you. But so is love. A quirky alternative to the "sick lit" genre for YA readers. Petula's funny,...
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Description-

  • This touching, hilarious tragi-comedy by award-winning author Susin Nielsen proves: Life is out to get you. But so is love. A quirky alternative to the "sick lit" genre for YA readers.
    Petula's funny, and a crafting genius, but no social star at high school, and it doesn't help that she's isolated herself after her adored toddler sister died. Petula feels responsible for this death, though her parents say it was a tragic accident. No one's fault. Now, Petula sees danger everywhere: every activity and every bite of food could kill you. Then a new boy, Jacob, joins Petula's group in the school's lame art therapy program; he has a prosthetic arm and darkness behind his sunny surface. Petula and Jacob become friends, then, something more. But a secret behind why he's in the group could derail them.
    A heartbreaking yet humorous first YA from award-winning author Susin Nielsen, Optimists Die First continues Susin's tradition of creating memorable characters and genre-bending narratives.

About the Author-

  • SUSIN NIELSEN got her start writing a spec script for the popular television series Degrassi Junior High. She went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit show and four of the Degrassi books. Since then, she has received two Canadian Screenwriter Awards and a Gemini Award. She has written for many TV series, including Heartland, Arctic Airand Robson Arms, which she co-created. Her first novel, Word Nerd, won four Young Readers' Choice Awards and was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year Award, among others. Her second novel, Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom, won three Young Readers' Choice Awards and is a Winner of the Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers by VOYA and the Gold Winner of the Book of the Year Award in Juvenile Fiction by ForeWord Reviews. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, won many awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award, CLA's Book of the Year for Children Award, and three Young Readers' Choice Awards. It was also selected as one of the best fiction for young adults by the American Library Association and a Top Shelf for Middle School Readers byVOYA. Susin's latest, We Are All Made of Molecules, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal in the US. Susin Nielsen lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and son.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 5, 2016
    The accidental death of Petula de Wilde’s younger sister, Maxine, has fractured her family, perhaps irrevocably. Her parents are retreating into their passions for books, music, and cats; Petula, who blames herself for Max’s death, has adopted the attitude that “tragedy can strike when you least expect it” and worries constantly about earthquakes, walking past construction sites, shaking hands, and catching rare diseases. Petula’s anxieties have landed her in youth art therapy (YART) at school, where she gets to know new student Jacob Cohen, a talented filmmaker with a bionic hand and his own tragic past. Grief and guilt permeate Nielsen’s (We Are All Made of Molecules) empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue. “It’s like a twisted version of The Breakfast Club,” says Jacob of YART, whose members struggle with bullying, substance abuse, and anger. Readers will be riveted by Petula’s rocky attempts to repair damaged relationships with her parents and a friend she drove away, connect with the members of YART, and open herself up to the idea of romance with Jacob. Ages 12– up. Agent: Hilary McMahon, Westwood Creative Artists.

  • Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews "Nielsen writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humor, believably lightening Petula's constant efforts to cope . . . Another lovely outing from Nielsen."
  • Starred Review, School Library Journal "[A] compelling, precociously paranoid protagonist and a bevy of wisecracking, heartwarming characters. But perhaps the novel's greatest strength is its handling of the characters' very real burdens with sympathy, wit, and not an ounce of melodrama."
  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly "Grief and guilt permeate Nielsen's (We Are All Made of Molecules) empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue . . . Readers will be riveted by Petula's rocky attempts to repair damaged relationships with her parents and a friend she drove away, connect with the members of [her youth art group], and open herself up to the idea of romance with Jacob."
  • Bustle
    "[S]imultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and raw and tragic, allowing for it to feel totally human."

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    Tundra
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