A haunting account of a teen boy who volunteers at a suicide hotline and falls for a troubled caller.
Billy is a sophomore in high school, and twice a week, he volunteers at Listeners, a suicide hotline. Jenney is an “incoming,” a caller, a girl on the brink. As her life spirals out of control, Jenney’s calls become more desperate, more frequent. Billy, struggling with the deteriorating relationship with his depressed father, is the only one who understands. Through her pain, he sees hope. Through her tears, he feels her heart. And through her despair, he finds love. But is that enough? Acclaimed author Janet Ruth Young has written a stunning and powerful story with no easy answers; it is about pain and heartbreak, reality and illusion, and finding redemption and the strength to forgive in the darkest of times.
She was a girl talking to me in the dark.
Everybody knows what happened with my parents. Everybody I talk to when I call.
“You can turn your life around,” I had told her. “Starting today, you can be free. You can do anything you want. Don’t you see that?”
I’m down, but I’m not out. I’m a fighter. On my good days, few can defeat me.
“I admire that about you,” I had told her.
I remember every compliment you ever gave me. Especially when you said I was strong.
“I have to go. Will you be okay?”
I’ll handle it. I always do. Good night, sweet Hallmark prince.
Janet Ruth Young is the author of the teen novels My Beautiful Failure, Things I Shouldn’t Think (previously published as The Babysitter Murders), and The Opposite of Music. She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Visit her at JanetRuthYoung.com.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (November 13, 2012)