The haunting account of a teen boy who volunteers at a suicide hotline and falls for a troubled caller.
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.
Billy wants to be a psychologist; he s already lived through his father s serious depression in Young s first book, The Opposite of Music. Now that his father has perked up and started painting again, Billy begins volunteering at a suicide prevention hotline. Although some of the rules bother him (no ongoing relationships with repeat callers; no contacting emergency services without the caller s permission), he s eager to help, perhaps even save a life. Increasingly worried that his father s mood is verging on mania, Billy grows distant from his mother and sister and closer to Jenney, a frequent hotline caller whose problems get more florid as the book progresses. In her third novel about mental illness, Young proves she isn t afraid of dark topics, but while she persuasively depicts Billy s overinvolvement with Jenney and his certainty that his family is in denial, she offers little counterweight to Billy s judgments (Gordy, Billy s saintly best friend, occasionally offers advice). Readers wondering why Billy, a smart high school sophomore, never questions either Jenney s stories or his own take on his father s situation may not fully connect with him. Ages 12 up.