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Optimists Die First169
Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she'd kept an eye on her sister, if only she'd sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only... Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world's most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula's ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she's paired with Jacob for a class project, there's no denying they have brilliant ideas together - ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats. But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts - and when the truth comes out, there's no way Petula is ready for it.
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"Hilarious, heart-warming and beautifully unexpected - a real keeper" * Lisa Williamson * "I fell for Optimists Die First like I was curled up with a familiar favourite - offbeat charm, with a bittersweet romance at its sorrowful heart." -- Harriet Reuter Hapgood "Optimists Die First will make you feel bigger in every way. Bigger in courage to face a dangerous world; bigger in feeling; bigger in love; bigger in your ability to put yourself back together after something that should break you; and yes, bigger in optimism" -- Jeff Zentner "Susin Nielsen has produced a richly comic story featuring a cast of mismatched, engaging characters" -- Marilyn Brocklehurst * Guardian, The Best New Children's Books supplement * "Entertaining but also poignant" -- Claire Hennessy * Irish Times * "One of the most talented teen writers working today" * BookTrust * "Grief and guilt permeate Nielsen's empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue." * Publishers Weekly, starred review * "Nielsen writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humour" * Kirkus, starred review * "The novel's greatest strength is its handling of the characters' very real burdens with sympathy, wit, and not an ounce of melodrama. Nielsen excels at depicting troubled, clever teenagers" * Starred review, School Library Journal * "Optimists Die First is both funny and heartbreaking. Fans of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor And Park will love it." * Red Magazine Online * "Nielsen has such a gift for creating authentic teenagers... Infused with offbeat humour, this is a book with a great voice and a big, big heart" -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller * "A contemporary story written with compassion, empathy and wit" * Best New Children's Books Guide, produced by the Publishers' Association and published in the Guardian 2018 * "Readers will be gripped by Petula's story and the way she tells it; Nielsen gives her a totally authentic teen voice, loaded with cynicism, sarcasm, humour and flashes of hope." -- Andrea Reece * Lovereading * "Nielsen has a pitch-perfect ear for the dialogue of the unconventional, the betrayed, the guilty" * Books for Keeps * "Honest, thought-provoking, life-affirming and a truly wonderful read... this title will help to promote discussion and openness about mental health issues" * Carousel * "A quirky and deeply moving story of friendship, love, trust, grief and guilt written in an engaging style with laugh-out-loud moments" * ReadingZone * "Nielsen's writing brims with off-beat humour, authentic voices and real heart" -- Fiona Noble * Buyer's Guide Spring 2017 * "The book enlightened me on how we may judge people at first, but we may not appreciate their unique personality until we get to know them as a true person." -- Rebekah Marsh, age 14 * for lovereading4Kids.co.uk * "Nielsen writes with warmth and sensitivity, creating relationships that are believable and nuanced...It's a book I couldn't stop thinking about" -- Jenny Duffy * for lovereading4Kids.co.uk * "I could not put this book down!" -- Emily Price, age 14 * for lovereading4Kids.co.uk *
Susin Nielsen got her start writing for popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. Since then, she's written for many Canadian TV shows and her young adult novels have received considerable critical acclaim. Word Nerd and My Messed-Up Life won multiple Young Readers' Choice Awards. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen won the UKLA Award, the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year and many Young Readers' Choice Awards, while We Are All Made of Molecules was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Susin lives in Vancouver with her family and two extremely destructive cats.