CATERPILLARS CAN’T SWIM
Two boys look to the water for escape, but for very different reasons.
For sixteen-year-old Ryan, the water is where he finds his freedom. Ever since childhood, when he realized that he would never walk like other people, he has loved the water where gravity is no longer his enemy. But he never imagined he would become his small town’s hero by saving a schoolmate from drowning.
Jack is also attracted to the water, but for him it’s the promise of permanent escape. Disappearing altogether seems better than living through one more day of high-school where he is dogged by rumors about his sexuality. He’s terrified that coming out will alienate him from everyone in town—and crush his adoring mother.
Ryan saves Jack’s life, but he also keeps his secret. Their bond leads to a grudging friendship, and an unexpected road-trip to Comic Con with Ryan’s best friend Cody, the captain of the swim team. They make an unlikely trio, but each of them will have the chance to show whether he is brave enough to go against the stereotypes the world wants to define him by.
DON’T TELL, DON’T TELL, DON’T TELL
Told in first person from the perspectives of a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and a teenage girl with a secret
Frederick has a lot of rules for himself – like if someone calls him Freddy he doesn’t have to answer them, and he only wears shirts with buttons. His mom’s rule for him is that he has to use eye contact when he talks to people. Asperger’s hides his brilliance in what to most seems just like weird behavior. But when his friend Angel – his only friend – goes missing and he is questioned by the police, he doesn’t have a rule for that. Friendship is a new concept for Frederick, so when Angel asked him to keep a secret no matter what, he agreed. But do the rules of friendship apply when your friend is missing?
Devastated by what she sees as an embarrassing incident at a party and desperate to keep anyone from finding out what happened, Angel has come up with a plan that she thinks will make her life easier. Frederick is her only confidante and her warning to him – don’t tell, don’t tell, don’t tell – might have done more harm than good.
Second Story Press
272 Pages • 5.5 x 8.5
A former teacher’s no-holds-barred account of her year with a class of “behaviour” boys
Before she began writing books for teens, Liane Shaw was an elementary teacher. She brings her gifts for storytelling and humor to this account of her journey into the lives of emotionally challenged students. With little in the way of experience or resources, she found herself thrust into the most challenging kind of teaching imaginable.
From the moment Shaw meets her first two boys, as they sit teetering precariously on top of a bookshelf while swearing at the principal, she is both fascinated and terrified. Funny yet sad, strong yet vulnerable, these boys are both the bullies and the bullied. All from different backgrounds, the one thing they have in common is that the odds are against them and that the myriad efforts of the adults involved in their lives often do more harm than good. Shaw moves from frustration to determination. Readers will root for her to succeed, as invested in the success of these kids as she is. Students and teachers continue to face the same challenges, and our education system is still struggling to cope with its most vulnerable students. Shaw’s wish in sharing her story is clear – that as adults we can help children with mental health issues heal and succeed, and that stories like hers can be moved to the history shelf.
Second Story Press
280 Pages • 8 x 6
Two girls, both without a voice. One refuses to speak, the other is trapped in a body that won’t let her.
At seventeen, Alex feels as if her life is over. She will never recover from the trauma of the car accident that took the life of her best friend, Cali. All joy left when Cali died, including their shared love of singing. Why even bother speaking? Alex blames herself for the accident, and no one would want to hear what she has to say anyway. Ordered by a judge to do community service, she must spend time at a hospital with a girl named Joanie, who has minimal control of her body and no speech.
Never having known another way of being, Joanie has an extraordinary internal life. She has been listening and watching as the world goes on around her, but Joanie is so full of words, thoughts and images that if she could ever figure out a way to let them loose, they would come swirling out in a torrent of syllables. She would fill every room with the colors of her dreams until the whole world became a rainbow of her making.
Brought together by accident, Alex and Joanie have experienced the helplessness of silence. Their growing connection may lead them both to find the power of their voices.
Liane Shaw’s poetic novel of grief and friendship examines the vast difference between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us.”
Quill and Quire
Awards and Nominations
- Finalist for the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book award, 2013
- Finalist for the 2014-2015 Stellar Book Awards – voted on by school kids across British Columbia
- A Bank Street College “Best book of the Year”
Second Story Press
266 Pages • 5.5” x 8.25”
Here comes trouble…she’s a fostergirl.
Her name is Sadie, but she might as well be called Fostergirl. Grouphomegirl. That’s how everyone thinks of her. Sadie doesn’t care. In fact, she’d be happier if they didn’t think of her at all. Her goal is to go unnoticed, to disappear. Nothing good comes from being noticed, especially if you’re a fostergirl.
Another new high school, another new group home. This one is lucky number 13, but who’s counting? Except, this time there’s a girl at her school named Rhiannon who won’t let Sadie be invisible. In fact, she insists on being her friend. This friendship, and the dawning feeling that she finally belongs, might be able to restore Sadie’s belief in others, and – ultimately – herself.
“Strong character development and believable situations provide a robust foundation for her excellent, ultimately hopeful tale. Sadie’s edgy account of finding a real place for herself in the world will keep readers thoroughly engaged. ”
Second Story Press
272 Pages • 5.5” x 8.25”
Seventeen-year-old Maddie has always felt a hole in her life, but she has finally found a way to fill it with her quest to mold her body into her ideal, thinnest shape. When she comes across the world of “thinspiration” websites, where young people encourage each other in their mission to lose weight, she quickly becomes addicted. Finally, she has found a place where she is understood and where she can belong.
Maddie becomes a part of a group of friends who call themselves the GWS, “Girls Without Shadows”, on the pro-anorexia website thinandbeautiful.com. Here she finds the respect and support she feels she doesn’t get from her family and friends in the so-called real world. Now in a rehab facility where they are trying to fix a problem she doesn’t think she has, Maddie is forced to keep a diary tracing how she arrived at this point. Angry that she is barred from accessing her online friends, Maddie refuses to believe she needs help. Will a tragedy change her mind?
With well-developed characters in the mix of family and friends who engage with this young woman, teenaged readers have the opportunity to enjoy a strong story while at the same time learn about an illness that may hit close to home.”
Awards and Nominations
- Finalist for the 2011-2012 Stellar Book Awards – voted on by school kids across British Columbia
- Included on Young Adult Library Services Association nomination list for Popular Paperbacks of 2010
- Included in 2010 Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Children and Teens