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YA Review: The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway Carpenter (CYBILS finalist)

Title: The Edge of Anything

Author: Nora Shalaway Carpenter

Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)USA (NC)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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, The Edge of Anything explores the transformative power of friendship and how it can help you find yourself and the goodness in life, even when everything feels broken.

Review: This book was a finalist for the CYBILS Awards so I read it as a round 2 judge.

I hadn't heard of this book before having to read it for the awards, but I really think it's a good one. I have always liked it when stories are told from different characters' viewpoints and we get to know both Sage and Len individually before their lives intersect. While Sage is dealing with a physical ailment and how it will affect her life, Len's problem is emotional and mental. Both are dealt with in a way that makes the reader feel empathy for them, better understand the issue, and hope that they seek professional help.

Sage and Len's families feature quite prominently in the story and we can see how they both help and hinder the girls' attempts to get help, treatment, and how they contribute to the problems. It's very real and very painful at times. But the author also allows both girls to have pride in who they are as they battle their demons. Her author's note at the end explains how she also dealt with the same thing Len has and it makes sense that it was handled with love and realism.

I highly recommend this book. 

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • A to Z--"E"
  • Alphabet Soup--"S"
  • Diversity--Mental illness
  • Literary Escapes--North Carolina

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