by Sarah J. Donovan
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: May 1st 2018
Sadie Carter’s life is a mess, as wavy and tangled as her unruly hair. At 15, she is barely surviving the chaos of her large Catholic family. When one sister becomes pregnant and another is thrown out, her unemployed dad hides his depression, and her mom hides a secret. Sadie, the peacekeeper and rule-follower, has had enough. The empty refrigerator, years of hand-me-downs, and all the secrets have to stop. She longs for something more and plans her escape.
However, getting arrested was not her plan. Falling in love was not her plan. With the help of three mysterious strangers—a cop, a teacher, and a cute boy—maybe Sadie will find the strength to defy the rules and do the unexpected.
Told in verse, Sarah J. Donovan’s debut Alone Together has secrets, romance, struggle, sin, and redemption, all before Sadie blows out her 16 candles. It’s a courageously honest look at growing up in a big family.
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Introducing the main characters and the creation behind them.
Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels, writes what he calls a literature of witness. I hear him say this on an NPR interview. The characters are people I’ve met in my life in whole or in part. I work very hard for my verse to bear witness to the characters’ lives as deeply as I can as a way of honoring and understanding them.
Sadie Carter is a version of myself when I was a teenager, and many of the poems in the novel are me reliving and reimagining the moments. I am not a fan of long expositions in novels (nor are my students), which is why, in part, I wrote this novel in verse. I wanted each poem to be right in the moment, observing and noticing the scene. Each page should, I hope, feel like the reader is witnessing Sadie’s life and the life of her big, complex family. By the end of the book, I want readers to have had an intimate experience, yet still feel the sense that there is more to know and understand. The verse form acknowledges that every story is at once partial and complete.
About the Author
Sarah J. Donovan is the author of Alone Together and Genocide Literature in Middle and Secondary Classrooms. A junior high English teacher by day and college education professor by night, she spends every other moment reading young adult novels and writing. She lives with her husband in Downers Grove, Illinois in a condo so she can write instead of mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. When she is not teaching, reading, or writing, she can be found playing sand volleyball with amazing Chicagoland women. (Yes, even in the winters.)You can see all her “shelfies”on Instagram @donovan_sd or tweet @MrsSJDonovan.
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