Counting Backwards

Counting Backwards

For Ages: 14 and up
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In this haunting and hopeful debut novel, a teen’s court-mandated psychiatric residency prompts a change in perspective from which there is no looking back.

Taylor Truwell is a sixteen-year-old girl from Florida with a troubled past, a neglectful mother, a seemingly callous father, and an urge to flee. When Taylor is caught with a stolen car, her reaction lands her in court for resisting arrest. Her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. And so Taylor arrives at Sunny Meadows.

Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, an intrusive therapist, and a group of particularly nasty fellow patients. But even as Taylor clings to her stubborn former self, she gradually relents to new friendships—and to unexpected romance. Sunny Meadows goes against everything Taylor stands for. But could it be the place that saves her?

In this striking debut, Laura Lascarso weaves together a powerful story of anger and self-destruction, hope and love, and the complicated way that it all comes together.
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  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442406919 | 
  • August 2013 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
List Price $9.99
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Three weeks ago I tried to run away from home. Now all I want is to go back.

With my thumbnail I etch my name—TAYLOR—on the blue vinyl seat in front of me, over and over in the exact same spot, because the impression lasts only as long as it takes to get from T to R. I try to keep my mind blank, but I keep thinking about the last time I saw my mom. It was two days ago in the courtroom, where she sat, silent as a turtle, while my father asked the judge’s permission for me to carry out my probation in a “maximum-security facility” where I could receive “intense... see more

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