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Promise Me Something Hardcover – September 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807566411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807566411
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,713,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kocek's hard-hitting first novel offers smart dialogue, sharp descriptions, and a plot that unfolds in unexpected ways, as she explores the destructive power of casual, everyday homophobia. . ." Publishers Weekly, July 19, 2013

From the Inside Flap

Reyna is starting her freshman year of high school without her popular best friends and ends up befriending Olive, the school outcast, only to betray her in a way so painful Olive might just take her own life.

Customer Reviews

It was very well written and I read it in a night I did enjoyed it, even with the poor ending.
shane shelton
Kocek really brings to life the struggles both Reyna and Olive face as they navigate their new friendship and the harsh realities of high school and life in general.
Carmen Oliver
Suicide and homosexuality are both topics that are central to this book, as well as persecution for being different.
Kevek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Oliver on August 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of the most real stories, I've read in a long time. Kocek really brings to life the struggles both Reyna and Olive face as they navigate their new friendship and the harsh realities of high school and life in general. Olive honest to a fault and headstrong. Reyna who's lost and searching to be the person everyone thinks she is. The portrayal of friendship and betrayal is gripping with candor and authenticity. Kocek masterfully crafts characters we come to love, admire and fear. A teen on the brink of suicide and a friend that leaves her out on that edge to ponder life's existence. It's a mystery with page-thrilling suspense right to the end. Who wins? Who loses? Is anything ever fair when a life hangs in the balance? A story you'll be sorry that you didn't read. Strong themes of human rights, equality, friendship, bullying and suicide that leave a lasting impression long after the last page has been read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevek on August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It has been a few years since I was last in high school but this book brought it all rushing back. I am not entirely certain I can put my finger on why exactly, but the author has managed to bottle the spirit of being a high school freshmen in the pages of this novel.

I feel I also have to acknowledge and praise this book for the simple fact that it was incredibly nostalgic for me to read. Though I was never involved in any events quite as dramatic or serious as Reyna, the descriptions of places, smells, and feelings provided me with no choice but to fondly recall my own high school years and all of my friends from back then.

With that praise out of the way, I'll also say that the story is riveting, ambitious, and important. Though young adult fiction is not typically a genre I read, I found that I had a hard time putting this book down. While the book opens with Reyna having experienced quite a few painful events in her young life; none of them were unrealistic or outlandish, though she is certainly unlucky. Reyna's thoughts and reactions to being an outsider in a new school, and separated from all of her established friends, was something that strongly resonated with me. I went to a lottery-based middle school, and not the one based on a districting, and as a result when I started high school as a freshmen I had very few existing friendships. I can honestly say that Reyna's worries and anxieties at her new situation are true-to-form.

I was also surprised by this book: not only are there some clever twists and fascinating turns contained within the story, but the book covers material that is both deep and difficult to talk about. The book covers some topics that I remember being touched on when I was a teenager - ostracism, honesty, and alcoholism.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Laura (anadultteenreader) on September 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I always try my best to remain spoiler free in my reviews - but this is one of the rare times that I will not be able to review without discussing some major plot points. If you want to remain spoiler free I suggest you skip this one!

When the school board changes zoning areas, Reyna Fey has to start freshman year at a different school than her three best friends. Hoping to not spend everyday completely alone, Reyna's open to making friends, but sharp tongued, tell it like it is Olive Barton, wasn't the kind she was expecting. Brought together first out of loneliness, Reyna slowly begins to consider Olive a real friend. But, everything changes when Olive comes out to Reyna, and Reyna responds in the most hurtful, painful way possible. Unaware how severely she has hurt Olive, Reyna submerges herself in a new relationship, and a new group of friends, abandoning Olive when she needs her the most. As the girls become more hostile than friendly, Reyna is forced to learn how one person's actions and words can forever alter someone else's life.

I'm going to start by saying that I didn't dislike this novel - but I don't think it was as effective as other novels with similar subject matter. The first major issue I had with the novel was Reyna as the protagonist. Reyna ultimately bullies Olive, or in the least, stands by and allows others to bully her. She is not an entirely mean or unredeemable character, but a bully is not the kind of character I typically have interest in sympathizing with as a protagonist. The second issue that I had *** SPOILER*** was how the suicide of Grace, Olive's friend, was handled.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on August 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is not a warm fluffy high school story, and these are not your typical YA characters. Olive is one of the most interesting characters I've read in a while, smart, prickly, and honest to a fault. I also really liked Grace, even though we only ever got to know her through her IM conversations with Olive. I wanted to know so much more about her. The book was absolutely riveting, and the topics (bigotry, homophobia, suicide, and alcoholism) are important for all teens to read about. I definitely did not expect what happened at the end. Once you hit the twist in the middle of the book, it's a page-turner until the very end. A must-read for anyone who likes complex books that make you think.
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More About the Author

Sara Kocek knew she was destined to write fiction when she unearthed her childhood diary and discovered it was full of details that never happened. A graduate of Yale University, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University and lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and daughter. PROMISE ME SOMETHING (Albert Whitman & Co., 2013) is her first novel.

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