Learning Not to Drown

Learning Not to Drown

For Ages: 14 and up
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Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.

There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.

To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.

Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.

Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.
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  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416993933 | 
  • April 2014 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
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Read an Excerpt

Learning Not to Drown Chapter 1: Family Skeleton NOW
Skeletons don’t like to stay in closets.

Most families try to lock them tightly away, buried beneath smiles and posed family pictures. But our Family Skeleton follows me closely with his long, graceful stride.

I guess people in my town think they have a pretty clear picture of Skeleton. Their whispers have haunted me most of the seventeen years of my life, stalking me almost as closely as he does: prison, prison, prison. Shame, shame,... see more

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