HomeBooks by FormatNovels for Kids and TeensTwo Debut Contemporary YA Novels from Albert Whitman & Co. | Book Spotlight

Two Debut Contemporary YA Novels from Albert Whitman & Co. | Book Spotlight

The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 26, 2013


Reading level: Ages 13-18

About the Books

PromiseMeSomethingPromise Me Something

Sara Kocek

HC  978-0-8075-6641-1 $16.99

September 2013

Age Levels: 13-18, Grades: 7-12

Plot Summary

As if starting high school weren’t bad enough, Reyna Fey has to do so at a new school without her best friends. Reyna’s plan is to keep her head down, help her father recover from the car accident that almost took his life, and maybe even make some friends. And then Olive Barton notices her. Olive is not exactly the kind of new friend Reyna has in mind. The boys make fun of her, the girls want to fight her, and Olive seems to welcome the challenge. There’s something about Olive that Reyna can’t help but like. But when Reyna learns Olive’s secret, she must decide whether it’s better to be good friends with an outcast or fake friends with the popular kids. . . .before she loses Olive forever.


Promise Me Something is an inspiring contemporary, which touches on sensitive subjects with true-to-life occurrences. I read it all in one setting, and in that moment, I laughed, cried, got angry – any emotion that is possible for a human being to feel!”—Starry-Eyed Heart Book Blog

About Sara Kocek

Sara Kocek received her BA in English from Yale University and her MFA in Creative Writing from New York University, where she taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates. A freelance editor and college essay coach, Sara has served as the Program Director at the Writers’ League of Texas, a literary nonprofit. She lives in Austin, Texas. This is her first book.

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This is How I Find HerThis is How I Find Her

Sara Polsky

HC 978-0-8075-7877-3    $16.99

September 2013

Age Levels: 13-18, Grades: 7-12

Plot Summary

Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother’s bipolar disorder: monitoring medication, making sure the rent is paid, rushing home after school instead of spending time with friends, and keeping secrets from everyone. But when a suicide attempt lands Sophie’s mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin—a family she’s been estranged from for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family’s house is easy. What’s harder is figuring out how to rebuild her life. And as her mother’s release approaches and the old obligations loom, Sophie finds herself torn between her responsibilities toward her mother and her desire to live her own life.


This is How I Find Her perfectly captures the dichotomy between the home we find ourselves in, the home we find for ourselves, and that lonely frightening road in between. A heart-wrenching and sincere debut.”—Sarah Wylie, author of All These Lies

“Artful and accomplished, Polsky’s first novel offers a heartfelt and vividly insightful examination of a family in crisis. I couldn’t put it down.”—Michael Cart, Critic and Booklist Columnist

“This quiet novel provides honest insight about conflicting emotions felt by families struggling with bipolar disorder. Sophie’s inner journey from resignation to hopefulness is authentically portrayed and will provide great comfort to any teen contending with a parent’s affliction. Perceptive and sincere.”—Kirkus Reviews

About Sara Polsky

Sara Polsky’s fiction has appeared in Fictitious Force and Behind the Wainscot. Sara is a writer and editor at Curbed NY, and her articles and essays have appeared in The Christian Science MonitorThe ForwardPoets & Writers, and other publications. She lives in New York City. This is her first book.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.


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