Grade 6-9-Basketball games go on. Classes continue. Teens borrow their parents' cars. But all of this occurs without Anna Gonzales. When the high school freshman takes her own life, word spreads fast throughout the corridors and classrooms. Some students knew Anna, one sat behind her in math, one wonders why she never noticed Anna's pain. This series of loosely interwoven poems provides quick, yet insightful, glimpses into the minds, thoughts, and hearts of those left behind. Readers will first meet Anna's classmates and the adults around her, learning through firsthand views how a suicide impacts others. Athlete Damon Reingold posits, "The game doesn't always go your way./Forget fair./Feel forgotten./But damn it, Anna,/You don't stop playing." Carrie Sells wishes she could "wrap my arms/Around my world/So that I can get some control over it-." Tiffany Gibson uses whiskey to face her peers, and says, "-I die a little each day as I live through it." Only at the end do readers meet Anna through her suicide note. It's a quiet, angry, and honest missive, her good night to the world. If only she knew how it would affect others. Readers will gain some important insight into the serious issue of teen suicide through this treatment of the topic.
A powerful look at the effects of one girl’s suicide on her high school
"I can feel
The whispering of the hallway walls
Growing louder as the groups gather.
Each clique adding to its morning input.
“Did you hear?”
“Who told you?”
“Do you think it’s really true?”
New at this school,
I stand alone.
Watching . . ."
Brutally honest and authentic in tone, this collection of voices centers on the suicide of high school freshman Anna Gonzales. Each piece, read alone, portrays a classmate’s or teacher’s personal reaction to the loss, taken hard by some, by others barely noticed. Read together, the poems create a richly textured and moving testimony to the rippling effects of one girl’s devastating choice. Terri Fields has written a thought-provoking, important work that resonates with both pain and hope. This is a book that will stay with readers long after they put it down.
Terri Fields is the author of fifteen books, including several middle-grade novels. She is also an educator, and was named—among other honors—Arizona’s Teacher of the Year and selected to the All-USA Teacher Team. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
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