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Saving Red
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Saving Red
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Sonya Sones, award-winning author of What My Mother Doesn't Know, delivers a gripping, funny, and inspiring novel in verse about what happens when the person you set out to save ends up saving...
Sonya Sones, award-winning author of What My Mother Doesn't Know, delivers a gripping, funny, and inspiring novel in verse about what happens when the person you set out to save ends up saving...
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  • Sonya Sones, award-winning author of What My Mother Doesn't Know, delivers a gripping, funny, and inspiring novel in verse about what happens when the person you set out to save ends up saving you.

    Right before winter break, fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg reluctantly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica's annual homeless count, just to get her school's community service requirement out of the way. But when she ends up meeting Red, a spirited homeless girl only a few years older than she is, Molly makes it her mission to reunite her with her family in time for Christmas. This turns out to be extremely difficult—because Red refuses to talk about her past. There are things Molly won't talk about either. Like the awful thing that happened last winter. She may never be ready to talk about that. Not to Red, or to Cristo, the soulful boy she meets while riding the Ferris wheel one afternoon.

    When Molly realizes that the friends who Red keeps mentioning are nothing more than voices inside Red's head, she becomes even more concerned about her well-being. How will Molly keep her safe until she can figure out a way to get Red home? In Sonya Sones's latest novel, two girls, with much more in common than they realize, give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.

About the Author-

  • Sonya Sones has written seven novels in verse: The Opposite of Innocent, Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy; What My Mother Doesn't Know and its companion, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know; One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies; To Be Perfectly Honest; and Saving Red. Sonya's books have received many honors, but she was especially thrilled when she learned that she was on the American Library Association's list of the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century. She lives near the beach in California. You can visit her at www.sonyasones.com or write her at sonyasones@gmail.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 15, 2016
    Fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg is cramming to finish her final stretch of school-imposed community service hours the first time she sees a homeless teen named Red. Unable to forget her, Molly is determined to win Red’s trust and return her to her family. As a friendship develops between the two girls (“I didn’t realize,/ until just now,/ how ridiculously starved I’ve been/ for human companionship”), Molly learns that Red suffers from schizophrenia and may need help with more than finding her way home. In this moving verse novel from Sones (To Be Perfectly Honest), Molly is motivated to save Red largely because of her guilt about her older brother, who returned home from war with PTSD and then disappeared on her watch. While Molly’s quest may have started as a diversion from her own anxiety and guilt, her relationship with Red helps her reconnect with her parents and forgive herself for her brother’s disappearance. A sweet romance and hopeful ending balance the heavy themes that propel this story, and Sones’s staccato, first-person poems sensitively trace the innocence Molly sheds as her world expands. Ages 13–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2016
    A young teen copes with loss by helping an older, homeless teen.It's late December, and 14-year-old Molly is walking around Santa Monica in the middle of the night, filling school-assigned community-service hours. Her task is counting (not helping) homeless people for the city, but a particular homeless girl captures her imagination, and their lives entwine. Molly yearns to send 18-year-old Red back to wherever her home might be, because, as Sones slowly reveals, Molly knows what it does to a family when a child disappears. Her older brother disappeared a year ago, and she blames herself. Now she feels triggered and guilty when anyone disappears, even briefly, whether it's Red, Cristo (Molly's new, requited crush), or Pixel, Molly's emotional service dog whom she "sort of inherited" from her brother. Molly's free-verse, first-person narration is smooth and fast, though weakened by exclamation marks. Red is both zany, given to dancing in public, and mentally ill--a sort of Manic Pixie Dream Disabled Girl, especially considering Molly's conviction that Red saves her. Both Red and Molly are white; although Molly is Jewish, Christmas figures prominently, including a scary re-creation of a scene from It's a Wonderful Life. Most of Molly's innocent assumptions about Red's homelessness turn out to be true, and the conclusion leans toward wish-fulfillment. A heart-tugging, romanticized, mutual-savior story about homelessness and mental illness. (Verse fiction. 12-15)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-A page-turning novel in verse about loss, grief, and redemption told in the voice of a wide-eyed, naive fourteen-year-old. Molly Rosenberg has been on her own for the past year, with only her service dog Pixel to ease her loneliness and frequent panic attacks. Her formerly great mother spends her days smoking medical marijuana and watching the shopping channel, and her lawyer dad has become a workaholic. The cause of this family's psychic pain is slowly revealed through the Santa Monica teen's earnest narrative. Over winter break, Molly meets a vivacious but volatile homeless girl just a few years older than herself and becomes fixated on returning Red to her family. She is also swept up in a sweet and tender crush on Christo, a handsome potential ally, who gets whisked away by his parents to New York for the holidays. Molly exhausts her wits and her resources trying to keep Red safe, and as she gains her trust, she learns the girl's story. At the same time, Molly shares her own feelings of guilt and grief over her older brother's disappearance the previous year. In the end, the mentally ill Red gets the help she needs (clearly a long, hard path lies ahead), and all of Molly's angst and trauma are neatly resolved. This work is Frank Capra-esque in its belief in the power of love to win out against all odds and even includes a homage to It's a Wonderful Life. While addressing some serious and thorny issues, this book maintains an upbeat and hopeful tone throughout, which may indeed be its saving grace. VERDICT A quick, accessible read for fans of emotional, character-driven titles that are not too gritty or despairing.-Luann Toth, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Deb Caletti, National Book Award finalist and author of Essential Maps for the Lost "A new book from Sonya Sones is always an event, and Saving Red shows why. This tender, taut novel in verse is both wise and full of heart."
  • John Corey Whaley, Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist "Original. Heart-wrenching. A beautiful treatise on empathy and love. These characters belong to you-as your own friends-when you read their story. Saving Red is an absolute treasure."
  • Dr. Rose Brock, Sam Houston State University "Each carefully crafted poem comes together to paint a vivid picture of love, loss, and the hope and humor that's caught in between. Saving Red soars and will speak to the hearts of teen readers everywhere."
  • Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner "I love the way Sones' verse carries the reader through the journey as though we're riding a wave. We never know where it will crash down, or where it will lift us up gently—until it does."
  • School Library Journal "A page-turning novel in verse about loss, grief, and redemption told in the voice of a wide-eyed, naive fourteen-year-old. A quick, accessible read for fans of emotional, character-driven titles."
  • Booklist (starred review) "Sones tackles the topic of homelessness, runaways, and mental illness in another hard-hitting, but never overly dark, novel in verse. A beautiful window into the desperate futility of trying to save someone who doesn't necessarily want to be saved."
  • Publishers Weekly "[A] moving verse novel from Sones. Sones's staccato, first-person poems sensitively trace the innocence Molly sheds as her world expands."

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