Len is a loner teen photographer haunted by a past that’s stagnated her work and left her terrified she’s losing her mind. Sage is a high school volleyball star desperate to find a way around her sudden medical disqualification. Both girls need college scholarships. After a chance encounter, the two develop an unlikely friendship that enables them to begin facing their inner demons.
But both Len and Sage are keeping secrets that, left hidden, could cost them everything, maybe even their lives.
Set in the North Carolina mountains, this dynamic #ownvoices novel explores grief, mental health, and the transformative power of friendship.
I don’t read a lot of Contemporary. Don’t get me wrong, I still have favorites in the genre and enjoy it a lot, but— I tend to prefer more escapist stories. Stories of magical worlds and distant lands; The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway somehow captures those things anyway, even in a simple story about friendship. I really enjoyed this book.
For starters, the characters grew to close to my heart so quickly. This story is about grief, disillusionment, and the big, afraid feeling that we all have to face as we grow up. Len and Sage, the two girls in this book who’s friendship transforms their lives, both had to face those fears too. And they do it with such relatability. These girls have secrets and inner demons aplenty, but they find something unique in each other. If you’ve ever had that close friend who understands a mysterious, unnoticed part of you, then you’ll recognize this story. And the magnetism of that feeling too.
The plot didn’t really matter to me that much, I’ll be honest. I liked that their struggles seemed down to earth and relatable, very common to so many teens in the world, while also having just enough drama to keep things interesting. This story is certainly character driven though, and the story benefits so greatly from the author writing through that lens.
I genuinely loved this. It made me feel less alone and more forgiving toward— well, humanity, really. Things in the world are so tense and complicated right now, a stress that I think we all feel, and this book highlights those things that become important in a crisis. The things that are always important but that we don’t always pay attention to. I recommend it. I hope you enjoy it.
Nora Shalaway Carpenter holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Before she wrote books, she served as associate editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine and has been a Certified Yoga Teacher since 2012. Originally from rural West Virginia, she currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband, three young children, and one not-so-young dog. Learn more at www.noracarpenterwrites.com or follow her on Instagram @noracarpenterwrites and Twitter @norawritesbooks.
Enter to win a hardcopy of The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway Carpenter, a character art postcard by Kelsey Lecky of K.A.K. Lecky Illustration, a bookmark, and a pop-open card from Thoughtfulls.
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