Reviews etc.

This page discusses my books in more depth, including reviews, awards, and summaries.

For ISBNs and ordering information, go here.

The Secret Year
Young adult, contemporary/realistic, 14+

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend. When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal Julia left behind. But Colt is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

“With this debut novel, Hubbard has crafted a fine addition to the pantheon of YA literature.”—Booklist

“In this provocative debut novel, the relationship described–told in flashbacks and journal entries–is both tortured and electric, the teens as perfect together as they are absolutely wrong for one another.”—School Library Journal

“[a] moving portrait of grief and the sharp societal lines that divide.”—Publishers Weekly

YALSA Quick Picks List (books for reluctant readers)
Spring 2010 Indie Next list (Teen Reader category)
2011 Tayshas List (Texas Library Association, books recommended for young adults)

Try Not to Breathe
Young adult, contemporary/realistic, 14+

Synopsis: Learning to live is more than just choosing not to die, as sixteen-year-old Ryan discovers in the year following his suicide attempt. Despite his mother’s anxious hovering and the rumors at school, he’s trying to forget the darkness from which he has escaped. But it doesn’t help that he’s still hiding guilty secrets, or that he longs for a girl who may not return his feelings. Then he befriends Nicki, who is using psychics to seek contact with her dead father. This unlikely friendship thaws Ryan to the point where he can face the worst in himself. He and Nicki confide in one another the things they never thought they’d tell anyone—but their confessions are trickier than they seem, and the fallout tests the bound of friendship and forgiveness.

"Defying both sensationalism and cliche ..... the story is also about moving forward." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"... compellingly portrays the quiet anguish of after." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"It is well paced and includes a bit of a twist near the end. ... Suggest it to those who loved Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why". --School Library Journal

"engaging, beautiful book. ... ends with an honest statement about Ryan’s future and hope for us all.” –Library Media Connection, starred review

"Following in the footsteps of It’s Kind of a Funny Story (rev. 5/06) and Thirteen Reasons Why, this novel sensitively tackles the topic of teen suicide.” –The Horn Book

Awards and Honors:

Keystone State Reading Association 2013 High School Reading List

Available in German-language translation as Atme Nicht.

NOTE: Try Not to Breathe deals with characters who have coped with thoughts and consequences of suicide. If you are in a similar situation, please talk to someone immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Until It Hurts to Stop
Young adult, contemporary/realistic, 12+

Synopsis: In junior high, Maggie was an outcast, bullied by her classmates. Then her chief tormentor moved away, and high school proved to be less brutal, although Maggie has never truly let her guard down. She only finds peace when hiking in the mountains—with a friend who may be turning into more. But just when Maggie thinks she can move beyond her fears and her sense of worthlessness, her old enemy returns to town.

"A quiet, insightful look into the aftermath of bullying through the eyes of a former victim.” — Kirkus

"The book concludes realistically, with genuinely important insights into recovery from bullying.” – VOYA

"Readers will fall for this thoughtful, expansive, and tender offering.” –Booklist

Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion
Nonfiction, writing

Synopsis: Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is not coming up with a plot or the perfect turn of phrase. It’s getting motivated to sit down and start, or having the confidence to go forward, or finding the courage to move past the sting of rejection. Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion provides inspiration and encouragement for that mental and emotional journey. Covering topics as varied as procrastination, the inner critic, fear, distractions, envy, rejection, joy, and playfulness, it charts the ups and downs of the writing life with honesty, gentle suggestions, and a dash of humor.

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