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Until It Hurts to Stop

Until It Hurts to Stop

4.0 2
by Jennifer Hubbard

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When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?

In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all,


When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?

In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although many readers will relate to Maggie Camden’s insecurities, which result from the fact that she was bullied in middle school, some—like Maggie’s best girlfriend Sylvie—may be frustrated by her inability to move on with her life. By age 17, Maggie’s situation has improved considerably. The taunting has stopped, and she has found a niche for herself, hanging out with Sylvie and hiking with Nick, the boy she secretly likes. Still, Maggie feels inadequate (“How could I forget Raleigh’s words about how I make guys gag?”). When her chief tormentor moves back to town, Maggie is overcome by the fear of being targeted again. Her all-consuming worries make her unable to trust friendly overtures from classmates, support Sylvie when her friend needs her most, and become romantically involved with Nick. Hubbard (Try Not to Breathe) persuasively conveys the depth of Maggie’s despair and the lingering pain bullying inflicts, but other elements of the novel come across as artificial. It is never clear why Maggie was victimized to begin with, and her archenemy feels manufactured, as does Maggie’s eventual rebound. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Until It Hurts to Stop:

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

"Gripping and emotionally resonant."-Kirkus Reviews

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

Praise for Try Not to Breathe:

  • * "Librarians need to share this title with school counselors, teachers, and administrators. It just could save someone's life."-Library Media Connections, starred review
  • * "Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted."-Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • * "Outstandingly successful."-Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Nominated for the 2013 - 2014 Kaystone to Reading Book Award
VOYA - Diane Colson
In junior high, Maggie was the target of fierce bullying by mean girls and their minions. Each day was a new ordeal filled with pranks and taunts. Now, two years later, Maggie has a different life. Her best friend, Nick, shares Maggie's quirky love for the outdoors, even appreciating her fascination with mushrooms. Maggie has become Nick's ally when his father relentlessly berates him for his lack of academic achievement. Junior high's misery seems to be a thing of the past. Then, the worst of the mean girls, Raleigh, begins attending Maggie's high school, and Maggie's dread of public humiliation returns. Terrible insults from the past haunt Maggie so thoroughly that she retreats back into her painful, lonely self, fraying her emotional connection with Nick. Even when the attacks from Raleigh and her ilk do not manifest, Maggie constantly relives them. This delayed effect of bullying is not generally the focus in novels on the subject, yet it is as important as the original incidents. For Maggie, facing Raleigh is like facing the worst nightmare ever, triggering amplified feelings of shame and worthlessness. So many teens needlessly carry these same emotions, convinced that powerful others can bestow self-respect or self-loathing. The book concludes realistically, with genuinely important insights into recovery from bullying. Recommend this title to readers affected by bullying from peers, as in Maggie's case, or from parents, as with Nick. Reviewer: Diane Colson
School Library Journal
Gr 8–11—In junior high, Maggie Camden was subjected to bullying-vicious taunts that continue to haunt her four years later. Raleigh Barringer, who tormented her, moved away, but as the novel opens, Raleigh returns, stoking Maggie's memories of the harassment. Although Raleigh appears to ignore her now that they're in high school, Maggie can't seem to shake her dread. It's a little hard to believe that anyone so fearful would also be an A student with complementary extracurriculars, the piano and mountain climbing. Maggie's rebuilt confidence relies heavily on Nick Cleary, her hiking buddy and best friend, although the challenges they face on the trail aren't as interesting as their conversations on the ground. Her other worry, besides Raleigh, concerns a recent urge to kiss Nick. Thus the tension of this smart novel is within Maggie, and not between her and the societal problem of bullying.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A quiet, insightful look into the aftermath of bullying through the eyes of a former victim. Maggie is 17 now, but she still feels the effects of the torment she experienced in junior high school. When Raleigh Barringer, the popular girl who orchestrated physical, verbal and digital attacks against Maggie, returns to Maggie's high school after living in Italy, the teen is terrified. Details of Raleigh's past actions are revealed slowly over the course of the narrative. Through each relationship in Maggie's life, readers see how Raleigh's bullying has left an impact. As the book begins, Maggie and her close friend Nick are developing romantic feelings for each other. After they kiss, Maggie remembers Raleigh telling her that no boy would ever like her, so readers will likely realize long before Maggie does that Nick's interest is genuine. More subtly drawn is the rift that grows between Maggie and her friend Sylvie. Maggie is so certain that everyone besides herself is happy and well-adjusted that she neglects Sylvie's troubles with her girlfriend. Maggie and Nick climb tough mountains as a hobby, and the hazards and triumphs of their climbs are gripping and emotionally resonant. Well-crafted, though it treads some familiar ground. (Fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Try Not to Breathe:

• "Librarians need to share this title with school counselors, teachers, and administrators. It just could save someone’s life."--Library Media Connections, starred review
• "Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
• "Outstandingly successful."--Publishers Weekly, starred review Nominated for the 2013 - 2014 Kaystone to Reading Book Award

Meet the Author

Jennifer R. Hubbard lives in the Philadelphia area. She is a hiker, a chocolate lover, and a night person who believes that mornings were meant to be slept through. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines. Her published books include the contemporary young-adult novels The Secret Year, Try Not To Breathe, and Until It Hurts To Stop.

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Until It Hurts to Stop 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
silencenomore More than 1 year ago
UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP, Margaret is a girl just trying to get through the drama and heartaches of High School. Her best friend Nick is the kind of guy buys her a pocketknife and plans they plan to go hiking. Somewhere along the way, they develop a crush on each other. This becomes awkward for their relationship, and they just stay cool with one another. Nick becomes interested in Vanessa, and they start seeing one another. Of course Margaret gets jealous, but has to keep it on the down low. Instead she just acts weird around Nick, as teenagers often do. They still climb the trails, and hang out here and there. Both of their parents are harping on them to make college decisions. Yet, they push it aside and continue with their daily routine. Margaret gets wind her big bully from junior high is returning to the area. Raleigh is her name, and nastiness was her game. Maggie was teased and taunted beyond repair by Raleigh. Reminding me of my bullies, and how cruel kids act. They create difficulty and make every school day miserable. Unbelievable at times really, being ridiculed among peers, and having daily torture. No wonder why kids have confidence issues, and become emotionally unwell. Nick has issues with his dad also being harsh and calling him a looser. During this time the kids encounter other friends, and continue normal school activities. Finally near the end, Nick and Maggie are able to communicate openly. They realize above all else, being honest reveals they have a lot in common. Maggie stands up to Raleigh, and now feels comfortable walking the halls and fitting in. Everyone has an agenda, a schedule, and a life. The day goes much smoother when life falls into place, and the worries of a teenager are lessened. This is a cute story, which reminds us of the complex issues in a teenager’s life. Specifically the bullying, parental pressures, dating, social stigma, and activities shared in this book. There has to be time to just be a kid and enjoy nature by hiking a trail. I give the book four out of five stars. I hope the author continues the story line with Maggie and Nick or each individually. Sharing and bringing awareness maybe to college issues. Great message shared in this book.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
      I wanted to read this one because of the bullying set up. That emotional kick draws me right to it. With the premise of her bullier coming back in town, there is the possibility of huge character growth.     I liked her friendship with Nick. He seems to be a solid guy and the synopsis hints at attraction blossoming there so that endeared him to me even more.    It was heart breaking to see the insecurity creep back in with Maggie. I feel her on some level because I suffer from social anxiety. Mine doesn't stem from bullied but rather has gotten worse with age. She is on edge, fearful that each day or encounter will be negative or an attack.     The earlier mentioned attraction with Nick and her hits some road bumps. She doesn't want their easy friendship to change so she backs off and then to complicate the dynamics even more, a friend is interested in Nick. I wonder right along with her if he is backing off because she did or if he is now interested in someone else. They still hang out and hike together which has been their thing, living to be outside and Maggie loves the adrenaline and pushing herself and the satisfaction.    I liked the family aspect as well. Maggie and her dad have A comfortable relationship. They don't talk a lot which is important to show because that can be the reality of family dynamics. They are close though and he knows when something is up with her and will talk to her and ask about things but never pushes too hard.     Also with nicks stepdad Perry who used tho hike with the two and is still a constant in his life, supportive but not pushy like his biological dad.  He has a phd and pushes Nick towards ivy league despite Nick s protests. Now I get that parents need to motivate teens in regards to grades and college decisions but there is a right.and wrong way to go about it and also the intent of the parent which needs to be for best interest and supportive of which his dad is not.     Both of them went through quite the ordeal and challenges before they figured it out. Maggie had to figure out a lot about how she was carrying around junior high and the pain. Although she was rightfully hurt, she couldn't still judge everyone based on how immature kids treated her. She talked with one of her tormentors--and realized that some felt horrible about it, and were different people. She had to change how she saw herself, and not let it cloud how she thought of everyone else. She thought that others, everything just went right for them, and she was always the victim. There was so much character growth in her, and she was also able to help Nick in some of the negative thought patterns he had-how he was letting the negative talk from his dad effect his choices and how he thought of himself.       The ending was nice and I liked how everything resolved. I liked the changes in Maggie and how her future was shaping up. Bottom Line: Emotional and character driven.