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Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie's life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she's famous for something she didn't do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included.
Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she's ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie's as well.
Last spring, Caggie (short for Mcalister) Caulfield lost her younger sister and saved a classmate named Kristen from jumping off a New York City building. As school starts up again, Caggie is no longer with her longtime boyfriend, Trevor; her father is absent; her mother is more superficial than ever; her older brother is acting weird; her best friend is attending another school; and there's a mysterious new boy named Astor who keeps showing up everywhere she goes. Worse, everyone at Caggie's private academy insists on congratulating Caggie for saving Kristen when she feels like anything but a hero. There's something about that night on the roof that Caggie is holding back, and only she and Kristen know the truth. Serle's (When You Were Mine) prose is lyrical and holds up well to the heavy emotions in this story. That Caggie's name, dark moods, and Manhattan meanderings echo those of Salinger's Holden Caulfield is intentional on the author's part, driving the story's momentum as her heroine reckons with the truth of her past. Ages 14 up.