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Overview

Shiv's best mate, her brother Declan, is dead. It's been all over the news. Consumed by grief and guilt, she agrees to become an inpatient at the Korsakoff Clinic. There she meets Mikey. Caron. The others. They share a similar torment. And there, subjected to the clinic's unconventional therapy, they must face what they can't bear to see.
   Shiv is flooded with flashbacks, nightmares, haunting visions of Declan on their last, fateful family vacation in Greece. ...

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Overview

Shiv's best mate, her brother Declan, is dead. It's been all over the news. Consumed by grief and guilt, she agrees to become an inpatient at the Korsakoff Clinic. There she meets Mikey. Caron. The others. They share a similar torment. And there, subjected to the clinic's unconventional therapy, they must face what they can't bear to see.
   Shiv is flooded with flashbacks, nightmares, haunting visions of Declan on their last, fateful family vacation in Greece. And with memories of Nikos, the beautiful young man on the tour boat. It started there, with him, beside the glittering sea . . . the beginning of the end.




From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
Shiv has a role to play: the troubled daughter of her parents, who is stricken with grief over the death of her brother but unable to get over it. Korsakoff Clinic is her designation for two whole months without being able to have any visitors. The object: to turn herself back into a normal teenager who does not destroy and try to burn things, in a misplaced effort to forget the death of her brother. Tension is felt immediately as the reader senses that the location of the Clinic may be just the best location for her recovery. Her dad left her there with these brief words “You can do this.” And though it is not clear just what the “this” is, the reader is anxious to solve some of the puzzling details Bedford drops in the first few chapters. Shiv’s room in the Clinic is described carefully for a reader to settle into it, just as Shiv is required to do. We are kept waiting to find out more about Shiv and her problems and what really happened to Declan, her brother. There is something about a family trip to Greece for two weeks, and thinking about the scenery, the water, and a new romantic interest there. Here, in the Clinic and walking around the grounds, Bedford introduces other young residents who are undergoing therapy. Language may be occasionally a bit off-putting for some readers, but the young people described have very difficult problems to solve, physically, and emotionally. The more clues revealed about Shiv and the relationship with her brother the more readers will feel invested in trying to decide if Shiva and any of the others at the Clinic sincerely want to get better. Bedford slowly uncovers the tragedies that brought each of the young people to the Clinic. Action is slowed down as chapters alternate between two time periods: the past of the characters, which led to their appearance at the Clinic, and their present stay and reactions to the therapeutic program they must undergo. The plot and characters may well be a learning experience for many readers. Perhaps teen readers have known someone like one of the characters in the story. More teenagers have undergone some type of neuropsychiatric treatment for a severe trauma they have had. Today the term PTSD is similar to the way people with acute stress responses to past violent situations are treated. Those people often have a difficult time separating what really happened to them, and what they want to believe happened. This book is more than a novel; it teaches many lessons about life and finding the strength to accept pain that life sometimes brings, even to teenagers. Reviewer: Enid Portnoy; Ages 16 up.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Shiv is embarking on a somewhat experimental therapeutic treatment to help her recover from the sudden death of her younger brother, Declan, during a family vacation in Greece. Shiv's story shifts back and forth in time so that readers are gradually informed about the tensions that emerged on that fateful vacation, the competition Shiv and Declan felt for the attentions of glamorous Nikos, their guide on a scuba diving expedition, and the lies Shiv told to maintain her relationship with Nikos while excluding Declan. No wonder she feels guilty. But she's not alone. Each of the young adults at the Korsakoff Clinic has suffered the traumatic loss of a loved one and each of them feels responsibility for the death. At first, the course of therapy seems relatively benign: walking, talking, and writing. The subsequent stages are much more brutal and are intended to break the patients psychologically in order to patch them together again. This is a dangerous process, and not all of the teens will be able to recover their equilibrium. Part-mystery, part-romance, and part-disturbing portrait of how fragile the human psyche can be, this novel is provocative and not for the faint of heart.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY
Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Fifteen-year-old Siobhan, who goes by Shiv, feels responsible for her brother Declan’s death during what started out as a blissful family vacation in Greece. Though no one else believes that Declan’s death is Shiv’s fault, she feels the need to be held accountable. When Bedfyrd’s story opens, she is being checked into the Korsakoff Clinic, an unconventional therapeutic institution for people who have suffered “traumatic bereavement.” Shiv and a handful of teenage residents submit to alternative therapies designed to help them understand the losses that have brought them to the clinic. Bedford (Flip) narrates in third-person, shifting between Shiv’s present-day interactions and recovery and her memories of her family’s time in Greece, during which romance, jealousy, and sibling antagonism helped propel the unfolding tragedy. The author does a lovely job of highlighting the in-jokes, good-natured ribbing, and high-running emotions of a family on vacation together (making Declan’s death feel all the more real), and he draws out the mystery behind what actually happened to Declan, creating a tension that will keep readers curious until the final page. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Mar.)
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Rebecca O’Neil
Fifteen-year-old Siobhan Faverdale—Shiv for short—checks into the remote Korsakoff Clinic for a two-month stay that she hopes will help her cope with her brother Declan’s recent death. The clinic has only accepted six patients, including sassy Caron, who becomes Shiv’s confidante, and tortured Mikey, who is assigned to be her “buddy.” Shiv is a cooperative patient, but the clinic’s unusual methods, which include total immersion in memories of Declan, compound her guilt when she remembers Declan’s last days on a family vacation in Greece and a romantic fling she had there with a boy named Nikos. Bedford’s second book for teens (after 2011’s Flip [Wendy Lamb/Voya April 2011]) is a melancholy, intriguing page-turner, alternating between Shiv’s present-day grief and her unfolding memories of the holiday that ended in Declan’s death. Hope for her and Mikey’s recovery, as well as curiosity about how Declan died and whether Shiv really was at fault (a mystery that is not revealed until the end), will propel readers through both story lines. Though Shiv is British, only a few words (GCSEs, swot, stroppy) will trip up American readers. Readers who enjoy powerful realistic fiction, family stories, and boarding school will find a winner here, but the strict and unorthodox Korsakoff method also has a dystopian flavor and may appeal to fans of this genre as well. This book is recommended for school and public libraries. Reviewer: Rebecca O’Neil; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-04
An English teen can't stop blaming herself for her brother's death. Thanks to the headlines, all of Europe knows what happened to 15-year-old Shiv's brother one fateful night in Kyritos, Greece. Since then, she's been experiencing PTSD-like symptoms that put her into rages she can't remember and send illusions of her brother creeping across her vision. The two-pronged narrative shifts between the fateful family vacation in Greece and Shiv's inpatient therapy at the Korsakoff Clinic. What matters most is not so much whether or not Shiv had a hand in her brother's death, as she so accuses herself, but the relationships she builds with the other teen residents of the clinic and the arc of her treatment. Each session of therapy opens another window to Shiv's time in Greece before her brother's death—her crush on a handsome, 19-year-old Greek boy, days spent relaxing by the pool with her parents at the villa and the terrifying night her brother lost his life. The characters and the scenery are rendered with such photographic precision that readers will feel as though they're watching a film. They'll also find Bedford's compellingly blunt, sharply drawn narrative (laced with Salinger references) sometimes too painful to read as they experience the harsh treatments right alongside Shiv. The results, however, are absolutely worth it. Beautiful and illuminating but as hard as therapy. (Fiction. 14-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375898563
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 811,933
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

MARTYN BEDFORD has written five adult novels, including The Houdini Girl (Vintage), and an acclaimed YA novel, Flip. A former journalist, he teaches at Leeds Trinity University College. Martyn lives in West Yorkshire, England, with his wife and two daughters. 
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