Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: When Kacey Left

Publish November 12, 2015

In her debut YA novel, When Kacey Left, author Dawn Green tackles the weighty subjects of mental illness, grief, and teen suicide (which is the second leading cause of death for young people), offering a moving, authentic look at one adolescent’s journey toward understanding and healing. Sara and Kacey have been best friends since they were eight years old. They had big plans for their lives: attend college together, travel around Europe, and be best friends forever. But all that ended when sixteen-year-old Sara learned of Kacey’s suicide. Now Sara’s spends her days dodging stares and whispers at school, grappling with crushing guilt, and being labelled as the friend of the girl who died. Told entirely over the course of nearly a year through a series of journal entries by Sara to Kacey, the reader learns the intricacies of their friendship and about Sara’s life as she begins the process of finding peace. With no neat-and-tidy ending or any concrete reasons for Kacey’s suicide, Green’s book will appeal to readers for its realistic attempt to offer hope and make sense of the seemingly senseless. But where Green, a high-school teacher and basketball coach in B.C., truly shines is in the emotionally raw, compelling style of Sara’s voice, masterfully capturing her profound range of emotions, thoughts, and experiences through Sara’s detailed, heartfelt journal entries (that include text conversations, memories, and dialogue) to her now-deceased best friend. Complete with an insightful author Q&A, as well as seven pages of information on suicide, including how to help, places to find support, and websites about mental health and related resources, When Kacey Left is an invaluable tool for readers that will serve as a catalyst for meaningful discussion on this complex issue.

When Kacey Left

Dawn Green
Red Deer Press
ISBN 13: 9780889955233

Jennifer D. Foster
Jennifer D. Foster Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance editor, mentor, and writer, specializing in book and custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications. She loves kidlit, greyhounds, Japan, pumpkin pie and yard sales.  

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