Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.
Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.
Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.
And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.
In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.
- Margaret K. McElderry Books |
- 688 pages |
- ISBN 9781416903574 |
- May 2008 |
- Grades 9 and up |
- Lexile HL680L
Reading Group Guide
ABOUT THE BOOK
Conner, Vanessa, and Tony have all three landed in Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital. Conner has the seemingly perfect life: he is handsome and rich, and he is a star athlete and excels in academics. Despite having everything most teens would die for, Conner is at constant odds with his mother. She is cold, concerned with image and perfection, and forever critical. Conner is unable to cope with her criticism and his feelings of inadequacy. Vanessa is a copper-haired beauty but, like her mother, is manic depressive. Her father, a soldier, is both physically and emotionally absent, leaving Vanessa’s grandmother to raise her. Dumped by a boyfriend who can no longer deal with her mood swings, and haunted by feelings of guilt for not calling 911 when her mother overdosed on Xanax, Vanessa finds relief in cutting. Tony is angry with his father for leaving him to grow up in poverty with his mother, a prostitute who exposes him to men who sexually abuse him. Tony finds a friend in an older man, Phillip, who dies shortly after they meet. When Tony meets Vanessa, he begins questioning his gay identity. Desperate to end the emotional pain, all three attempt suicide: Conner grabs a gun, Vanessa slashes her wrist, and Tony downs a bottle of pills. Having survived their suicide attempts, all three must confront their own demons if they are to emerge mentally stable. Forging new friendshi see more