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A contemporary story about family and friendship for fans of Eleanor Porter and L.M. Montgomery.
Harper Southwood is a teenage girl who can sense when people will get sick--but so what? She can't predict her best friend's depression or her mother's impending health crisis. Being helpful is all Harper ever wanted, but she feels helpless in the face of real adversity. Now, she's got a chance to summon her courage and use her wits to fight for justice. Laugh and cry along with this irrepressible, high-spirited teen in her journey of self-discovery, as she learns that compassion and internal strength are her real gifts, her true superpower.
"Bowles . . . clearly understands the world of young adults. Her depiction of Harper--her anxieties and excitability; her inner and outer personas; her heightened sense of the importance of "now"--cannot fail to pull readers into a teen mindset. The story is increasingly dark, yet in the telling it neither wallows nor depresses. Harper is allowed strength in her vulnerability. For all her isolation, it is her empathy that makes her special. There is a message here but not one that is pushed beyond the pale. Bowles writes to engage and to confront yet always seemingly with the intent to uplift. The resulting novel, far from being a leaden treatise on teen suffering, spurns literary pretensions and strives instead to include Harper's generation of young adults and give this group its due. Girls especially will relate, but there is room here for everyone. A sage, vivacious tale of people set apart and brought together."
--Kirkus Reviews (a Kirkus recommended review)
"Bowles' writing is lively and fun, yet still grounded and full of depth. . . . This is a wonderful book that cleverly explores some powerful and painful emotions."
--Victor Catano, best-selling author of Tail & Trouble
"Tackles sensitive social issues with heartfelt emotion and tender wit. . . . Well-drawn characters and themes exploring the mysterious power of the unseen infuse this inventive, revelatory novel."
--Kathleen Gerard, author of the novels The Thing Is, In Transit, and Cold Comfort
"I have lived through a trauma similar to one described in this book, and Kelley handles it in a careful, tactful, and compas-sionate manner. She illustrates good role models for healthy families as well as a gentle treatment of dysfunctional ones. . . . dense with activity and drama, dealing with difficult topics that are on a teenager's mind in a sensitive manner that includes a good dose of humor and healing."
--Laura H Kelly, author, contributor to the anthology, Things We Haven't Said
"An enjoyable and captivating read."
--Brian S. Leon, author of Havoc Rising
"Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, always true . . . Down in the Belly of the Whale is Ordinary People for a new generation."
--Jason Parent, author of What Hides Within and Seeing Evil
"Humorous and harrowing, romantic and revealing, and an honest true-to-life lesson about being a teenager in this most interesting of times. . . . definitely a must read."
--Shawn Clingman, English/drama teacher and director, Grand Junction High School.
"A fast-paced, yet heartfelt account of an average teenager whose life takes a series of sudden and unexpected turns. . . . Possibly the most important aspect of Down in the Belly of the Whale, are the messages that it conveys. Some of these messages are to be brave, even when you think you cannot be, that you belong even when you think you do not, that the person you thought you loved is not the right person for you, and that high school anatomy is as awful as I has I remember it."
--Timmie Quitugua, librarian
"This book literally had me crying. It was really good! . . . I would totally recommend this book!"
--Erin B., teenaged reviewer and book blogger, NetGalley
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About the Author
Kelley has two wonderful and funny sons and an amazing husband who cooks for her. She lives in Southern California.
To learn more about Kelley, visit her website and blog at www.kelleykaybowles.com.
Follow her on social media @kelkay1202. Post comments using #HarpersPower.