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My Beautiful Failure by [Young, Janet Ruth]
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My Beautiful Failure Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 12 - 99 Grade Level: 7 and up

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“FEELING DESPERATE? CALL US NOW.” When sophomore Billy Morrison reads the sign for the Listener’s suicide hotline, he is brought back to the previous winter, when his father suffered through a deep depression, and Billy supported him through long hours. Thinking that he has the listening skills needed for the volunteer hotline, Billy signs up, and one regular caller, Jenney, calls Billy “Hallmark” for the warm feelings he brings. Soon Billy begins obsessing over Jenney, even as he worries that his father’s antidepressants have triggered a manic episode that is manifesting in all-night painting sessions. While Billy is confident that his judgment concerning both Jenney and his father is sound, the reader is clued into Billy’s self-serving, immature diagnosis. The insider view of a suicide hotline is a poignant one. Like the realistic novels of Todd Strasser, this compelling title places a young person in a moral quandary that could literally mean the difference between life and death. Grades 8-11. --Diane Colson

Unknown


My Beautiful Failure.

Young, Janet Ruth (Author)

Nov 2012. 320 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $16.99. (9781416954897).

“FEELING DESPERATE? CALL US NOW.” When sophomore Billy Morrison reads the sign for the
Listener’s suicide hotline, he is brought back to the previous winter, when his father suffered through a
deep depression, and Billy supported him through long hours. Thinking that he has the listening skills
needed for the volunteer hotline, Billy signs up, and one regular caller, Jenney, calls Billy “Hallmark” for
the warm feelings he brings. Soon Billy begins obsessing over Jenney, even as he worries that his father’s
antidepressants have triggered a manic episode that is manifesting in all-night painting sessions. While
Billy is confident that his judgment concerning both Jenney and his father is sound, the reader is clued into
Billy’s self-serving, immature diagnosis. The insider view of a suicide hotline is a poignant one. Like the
realistic novels of Todd Strasser, this compelling title places a young person in a moral quandary that
could literally mean the difference between life and death.

--Booklist, November 15, 2012 (Booklist)

Young, Janet Ruth

My Beautiful Failure

2012. 320pp. $16.99 hc. Atheneum (Simon & Schuster). 978-1-4169-5489-7. Grades 9-12

Billy Morrison’s father has overcome serious depression with the help of his family and has rekindled a passion for painting. Billy discovers a suicide hotline where he can volunteer and feel needed. He wants to help other people as he helped his father. When he takes a call from Jenney, a very troubled young woman, he connects with her on a level he’s never experienced before. Short chapters shift between flashbacks showcasing Billy dealing with his father’s illness and the present. The Morrisons are fully realized characters, with Billy’s whimsical sister being an especially bright spot. The heavy subjects of mental illness and suicide are deftly handled with a surprisingly light touch. Although standing well on its own, this book is a follow-up to The Opposite of Music (Atheneum, 2008). Sarah Raezler, Information Resource Specialist, CASE, Washington, DC [Editor’s Note: Available in e-book format.]

Recommended (Library Media Connection)

My Beautiful Failure
By Janet Ruth Young

Last year (in The Opposite of Music, BCCB 4/07), Billy’s father disappeared into a debilitating and frightening depression that disrupted the family. He’s recovered now, but Billy, now a sophomore, is still wary, especially when his father throws himself into his art with a passion that looks like mania to Billy. Meanwhile, Billy has decided that his experience has prepared him to be a phone counselor at Listeners, a hotline for people in crisis. The hotline has specific rules about how to handle callers, but Billy comes to find these restrictive, especially when he gets a repeat caller named Jenney. He and Jenney develop an empathetic connection, which Billy imagines has romantic potential, but just as he misreads his father’s reinvigorated mental health, he misreads the depth of Jenney’s disturbance until it’s too late. Caught between the emotional extremes of people he cares deeply for, Billy struggles with the limits of his own power to help people; ultimately, his biggest struggle is to learn how to accept the frailty of both himself and others. The psychological suspense is taut throughout as readers see Billy’s dad’s behavior through Billy’s memories of the previous year and his fears for his father. Billy’s perspective on Jenney is more obviously skewed, but it’s no less poignant and suspenseful, as his fantasies begin to interfere with his ability to really listen to her. The emotional resonance here is complex and multifaceted, melancholy even where there’s hope and hopeful in the midst of melancholy; readers will be thinking about this one long after they close the book. (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)

"The emotional resonance here is complex and multifaceted, melancholy even where there’s hope and hopeful in the midst of melancholy; readers will be thinking about this one long after they close the book." (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)

"The insider view of a suicide hotline is a poignant one. Like the realistic novels of Todd Strasser, this compelling title places a young person in a moral quandary that could literally mean the difference between life and death." (Booklist)

"The heavy subjects of mental illness and suicide are deftly handled with a surprisingly light touch. Recommended" (Library Media Connection)


Product details

  • File Size: 1474 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1416954899
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (November 13, 2012)
  • Publication Date: November 13, 2012
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007EE4UX8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,700,302 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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