The Lovely Bones meets Thirteen Reasons Why in this gorgeous, haunting, and tragic novel that examines the crippling--and far-reaching--effects of one person's trauma on her family, her community, and herself.
For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She's forced down the memories--the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she's tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.
But when a startling discovery about her attacker's identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she'd shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself.
A compulsively-readable tragedy that reminds us of the fragility of human nature.
Praise for The Fall of Innocence
* "Sanchez deftly shows the long-lasting impact of the assault. . . . An intimate and tragic look at how traumatic incidents affect individuals, their families, and others around them." --Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
* "Sanchez writes with stunning detail, showcasing the beauty that can be found in small moments, in family interactions, in nature, and in seemingly everyday objects. . . and illustrates how a trauma like Emilia's has widespread effects." --School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
* "It is hard to imagine a more beautifully told, more moving, or more authentic story of one family’s journey through unbearable pain." --VOYA, STARRED REVIEW
"Beautifully written but ineffably sad, Emilia's story is a case study of trauma and its aftermath." --BCCB
"Emilia's inner world both captivates and devastates." --Publishers Weekly
"Internal and contemplative, [this novel's] haunting quality lingers." --Booklist
In December 1985, someone brutally assaulted eight-year-old Emilia DeJesus and left her for dead on an elementary-school playground in Hempstead, N.Y. Nine years later, Emilia is trying to put the past behind her and live the life of a normal teenage girl when she learns that the man she identified as her attacker was wrongfully convicted due to a false confession and is about to be released from prison. The news sends Emilia reeling as long-suppressed memories flood back. The more she recalls, the further she withdraws from friends and family and the deeper she retreats into the fantasies that comforted her as a kid. Sanchez (Because of the Sun) thoughtfully explores the damage wrought by childhood trauma and the effects that violent crime can have on those associated with the victim. Emilia's inner world both captivates and devastates, and while some readers may not find the book's grim conclusion satisfying, a subplot involving Emilia's brother's difficult but meaningful journey toward understanding and acceptance of his own sexuality and gender identity give the tale much-needed hope. Ages 14 up.