A heartbreakingyet ultimately upliftingepistolary middle-grade novel about family, religion, and having the courage to be yourself
"P.S. I Miss You is so moving! Evie's quiet strength and fierce determination are an inspiration. " Ann M. Martin, author of Rain Reign and the Baby-Sitters Club
"Jen Petro-Roy has created a character with the potential to be as iconic as Judy Blume's Margaret." Erin Dionne, author of Notes from an Accidental Band Geek
Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister, Cilla, away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. Forbidden from speaking to Cilla, Evie secretly sends her letters.
Evie writes about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.
Evie could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back, and it’s time for Evie to take matters into her own hands.
P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy is a heartfelt middle grade novel dealing with faith, identity, and finding your way in difficult times.
"A touching, epistolary tale of a girl’s journey to self-discovery. . . . Evie is an authentic, well developed character struggling with the deep issues of growing up. Petro-Roy’s debut novel is realistic and relatable; middle school and junior high readers will appreciate taking Evie’s emotional journey with her." VOYA
"The emotional conclusion will resonate with middle school fans of contemporary realistic fiction." School Library Journal
|Publisher:||Feiwel & Friends|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
MONDAY, JUNE 18TH
It's been twenty-four hours since you left. (Okay, twenty-three and a half.) It feels longer, though.
You've been away before. Sleepovers at your friends' houses. A drama club field trip for three nights last spring. Even church sleepover camp when you were in middle school. I was seven then, and I remember going to the mailbox every single day to see if you'd sent me a postcard. You only sent one dinky card that whole time, though. It didn't even have a picture of your camp on it, either, just a random picture of a sunset, withMAINE in big pink letters on the front.
The back was just as boring. I'd wanted to hear all about your new friends, about the new songs you'd been learning, and who snored at night. Instead I got messy handwriting and a jelly stain:
Camp is fun. The food is gross. Except for the s'mores. I could eat those forever.
Love, Your sister, Cilla
You put a heart above the i in your name, like you did all through middle school. You thought it made you super cool.
I thought it did make you super cool.
I still have that postcard in my keepsake box in the back of my closet. It's on top of the wreath of fake flowers I wore on my head for First Communion, the cross necklace Grandma left me in her will (and that Mom and Dad say is too special to ever wear), and the blue ribbon Maggie and I won at the science fair last fall.
Even if your postcard was only four lousy sentences, I still kept it. Because it meant you were thinking of me, even if only a little bit. That's why I'm writing to you, too. I'll write letters, though, which are way better than postcards. (Even if they don't have cool pictures.)
Real letters. On stationery and everything.
(Okay, another reason I'm writing on paper is that Mom says Aunt Maureen doesn't have cell access or Internet access on her farm. You'd probably get e-mails if she didn't basically live in the olden days. It would be way better if you could get this right away and I didn't have to wait a whole week for your answer.)
At least I finally get to use the stationery Aunt Megan got me for my birthday last year. Even if I'm totally not a "yellow and pink roses" kind of person.
Some of these letters might be short and some might be long. I'll keep sending them, though, so you'll know all about what's going on while you're away.
It must be lonely there.
Maybe I can keep you company.
Write back soon.
P.S. I miss you.
THURSDAY, JUNE 21ST
I've checked the mailbox the past two days, but I still haven't gotten a letter from you. I wasn't that surprised, though. Virginia's pretty far from Massachusetts. I wonder if the mailman (or mailwoman!) will even be able to find Aunt Maureen's farm. Remember that time two years ago when we drove to Disney World and stopped at the farm on the way to Florida? Dad's GPS broke somewhere in New York, then he missed the exit in Virginia. We had to buy an actual map at a gas station to find our way to Aunt Maureen's.
While Dad was trying to read the map (and Mom teased him for being "directionally impaired"), we had lunch in the parking lot of that gross gas station on a picnic table covered with sticky grape juice. Or something else sticky that I don't want to think about. You ate those weird cheese and crackers where you spread the orange cheese with a little red plastic stick, and I had a stick of beef jerky because you dared me to. It was so salty that I needed two bottles of water to get the taste out of my mouth. I was so glad I'd convinced Mom to get me a bag of M&M's, too!
Dad finally navigated his way to Aunt Maureen's an hour later, after driving on about seven hundred narrow dirt roads and passing about two hundred cows. A few pigs, too. But when we got to the farm, there were no cows. No pigs, either. Not even a chicken. Aunt Maureen's place looked nothing like a farm. Yeah, she had the old red barn and the stables, but they were empty. There were no animals at all, just old Aunt Maureen (Great-Aunt Maureen, actually), an old dog named Buster, and an old house filled with yarn and knitting needles. (Those were probably old, too.)
Mom told us later that it had been a farm, until Great-Uncle Elliot died. That's when Aunt Maureen sold all the animals and basically turned into a shut-in. The place smelled like old lady, baked beans, and raisin toast.
Now you have to stay there until September. Three whole months of old lady, baked beans, and raisin toast. Knitting, too. Lots and lots of knitting.
And no Internet. I know I couldn't deal.
But that doesn't matter to Mom and Dad. They probably think it's a "fitting punishment" for what you did. Which, yeah, was pretty bad. I think. Honestly, I'm not sure if what you did was a sin anymore. I don't like to think of you as a sinner. You're my sister.
You're Cilla, who braids my hair every Friday before school.
Cilla, who didn't care that I stuck out my tongue and gagged when she told me about her first kiss with Alex.
Cilla, who steals all the cookie dough from the cookie dough ice cream and leaves me with just the boring vanilla.
Maybe you did something bad, but that doesn't mean I can't still write to you.
Even if Mom and Dad aren't.
P.S. I miss you.
TUESDAY, JUNE 26TH
I'm not used to writing letters. Well, besides the thank-you notes Mom still makes me write to Grandma and Grandpa after my birthday and Christmas. Do you remember the year you refused to write thank-yous because you thought you'd thanked everyone enough in person? I thought Dad was going to throw your brand-new keyboard across the room. He didn't, though. He lectured you about respecting your elders and then let me play with the keyboard until your grounding was over, which was kind of awesome. I didn't want you to get un-grounded.
I'm ready for this punishment to be over, though.
Are you getting any of these letters? This is my third one and you still haven't written back. Are you ignoring me? Are my letters getting lost? That can happen. Maybe there's something wrong with the postal box by the school. My letters might be getting stuck somewhere the mailman can't reach them. There could be a mail thief on the loose!
Maybe you just don't care anymore. You're so excited to be away from your mistakes that your boring little sister doesn't matter anymore.
I get why you agreed to stay with Aunt Maureen. Mom and Dad were embarrassed and you were embarrassed. You didn't want anyone to see your stomach. But I still don't understand why you agreed to go away to school after you have the baby. (Especially to an all-girls' Catholic school. An all-girls' Catholic boarding school. That sounds like the worst place in the world to run away to.)
You don't have to stay away once you have the baby. Things can go back to normal then. Maybe they can even go back to normal with Alex.
That's part of the reason I'm going to keep writing to you. Because I need to convince you to come home. I need to show you that things are going to be okay and you don't have to be ashamed anymore.
I need to tell you that I love you. And that even if they don't act like it, Mom and Dad do, too.
P.S. I still miss you.
THURSDAY, JUNE 28TH
Today the town pool was closed. Something about chlorine issues. When Katie and Maggie and I got there at nine, the water looked green. Not leprechaun green or grass green, but more like limeade green. Limeade green with a tint of yellow, which made me think that some little kids had probably peed in there.
So even if there hadn't been a big CLOSED sign on the fence, there was no way we were putting a toe in that water. (Especially Katie, who'd painted her toes sparkly purple. She was ridiculously proud of them and kept looking at her toes as we walked to the pool. She almost walked into a STOP sign. Maggie and I laughed so hard that we lost our balance and almost fell into the sign, too.)
We decided to go to the park instead. I haven't been there in years. Remember how Mom and Dad always used to take us there after church when the weather was nice? First we'd have Mass, then we'd go to the doughnut social in the church hall. And then if we were really well behaved (which basically meant that you didn't sing at the top of your lungs and I didn't whine about how I was hungry the whole time), Mom and Dad would let us go to the park after.
You'd bring your tennis racket and hit the ball with Dad (until he convinced you to stop and throw a Frisbee around instead) and I'd go on the playground while Mom sat on the bench and watched me.
Then you'd get sick of Dad and we'd go down the twin slides at the same time, over and over again. You always reached the bottom first.
You always did everything first.
At least Mom and Dad never brought us to the park on the really hot days. That was today. It was ninety degrees by breakfast. The weather guy on TV called it a "scorcher" and said you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. Which, yeah, maybe you could do, but who would seriously want to eat that egg? Mmmm, I just love gravel omelets.
The pool would have been way better, but at least we put our blanket in the shade. Katie ran home (and came back covered in sweat) to get one. She also brought a cooler full of waters, watermelon, chocolate brownies, and Jolly Ranchers (which started to melt in about five seconds). Then Katie and Maggie stripped down to their bathing suits and started talking about Joey Witter, who was playing catch with Vivek Patel on the other side of the park.
They've decided that Joey is their newest crush and I've been pretending to agree with them, even though he's always mean to me. He made fun of me all last year because I got 100% on every spelling quiz. I know you said that means he likes me, but I think you're wrong. I think he's just mean. He talks to the lunch ladies more than he talks to me.
Swooning about Joey was really boring. Boring and hot. But even though I was sweating, I still wanted to go on the playground. It was in the sun, but there were still kids all over it, screeching and sliding and throwing sand. I didn't say anything to Maggie and Katie, though, because we're in seventh grade now. (Okay, almost in seventh grade.) We're too old for the playground.
That's what I'm supposed to think. But I really wanted to go on the tire swing, even though it was so hot, it would probably burn lines into my butt.
When I looked over, there was another girl on the tire swing already — and she looked around our age! She had dark skin and dark curly hair pulled back in a bright green headband. She was swinging slowly, and since she was the only one on the swing, it was tilting to one side. She grabbed on to a chain with one hand and held a book in the other.
Then Maggie poked me in the shoulder and asked me something about the Fourth of July celebration next week. I didn't really hear what she said, because I was too busy trying to see what the girl was reading. Even though seeing the title from our blanket would be pretty much impossible, since the tire swing was all the way across the park.
So Maggie poked me again. Then Katie poked me, too, which totally tickled. Which meant we of course ended up in a tickle fight like we were six years old.
When I looked up again, the girl was gone.
I don't know why I remembered all that — maybe because it made me remember us on the playground, before everything changed. Maybe because it made me want to go back there.
Maybe because I was a little jealous of that girl, how she looked like she had nothing to worry about at all.
I bet she never had a sister get sent away.
P.S. I miss you.
SATURDAY, JUNE 30TH
Okay, I know that technically Mom and Dad didn't send you away. They're not that cruel. They don't spank us or rap us on the knuckles with rulers or wash our mouths out with soap, all of that stuff you read about in old-fashioned books. (They don't even make us pray for hours every night. Just ten minutes. I can handle that.)
They didn't even pack your suitcase for you. You did that yourself, while I sat on the end of your bed and watched. First sweatpants. Then T-shirts. Then underwear, socks, and bras. Some regular clothes, but mostly the secondhand maternity stuff you bought at Goodwill. Your room got emptier with each thing you added to the suitcase.
I got emptier.
But even if they didn't pack the suitcase, they did make you get to the point where you wanted to pack your suitcase. They made you feel so awful and ashamed that you wanted to leave. They made you feel like your life was over.
When I first found out about the pregnancy, you were different. You seemed happy. Nervous — yes. Freaked out — totally. But you kept saying how much you loved Alex. You kept saying how much you wanted to make it work.
I was at Katie's house after school the day I found out. We finished our homework and watched TV for a while. Mrs. Foley asked me if I wanted to stay for dinner. Mr. Foley and Ben were at baseball practice and there was a huge pot of chicken soup on the stove.
"My family hates leftovers," Mrs. Foley said. She practically pushed me toward the phone. "It'll go to waste if you don't stay." It smelled delicious, so I called home. No one answered, which was weird, since you'd stayed home sick that day. I remembered that you tried to convince Mom to let you go to school since you had musical rehearsal, but she saw you throwing up and didn't let you.
Looking back, I don't know why I didn't figure it out earlier. You were throwing up almost every morning, and it's pretty impossible not to notice that, even though you always closed the door and turned on the fan. Barf stinks, no matter how much you try to hide it. I never thought you were pregnant, though. I thought you just had a stomach bug. Why would you be pregnant? We were supposed to wait until we got married to have kids. And that wouldn't be for years and years.
(You were pregnant, though. And I found out the worst way possible. By walking in on a fight. The first of many, many fights.)
I tried to call again. Still no answer. So I went home. I took a plastic container full of soup with me, too, some for me and some for you. I don't know what happened to that soup. I put it down somewhere during all the yelling and forgot about it.
I told Mrs. Foley that Mom would be okay if I walked home alone. It was still light out, and I could see our porch through the woods. I could hear the yelling as I got closer. The windows were open.
"I didn't raise you like this!" That was Dad's voice, low and gravelly.
"Do you know what this is going to look like?" Mom's voice, high and shrill like a bird's. "Do you know how this will change your life?" I didn't know what they were talking about, but I knew I didn't want to go inside. I hovered outside the porch door. It started to rain. I would have rather been soaking wet than inside, though. I felt so bad for you, especially since you'd been barfing all morning.
"I love him." That was you. Do you remember saying that? It made you seem so grown-up. You loved someone. You, Priscilla Anne Morgan, loved someone. It made you seem older than sixteen and made me feel way younger than eleven.
"You do not love him. You're sixteen years old." The rain started coming down harder. I couldn't see Dad's face, but I imagined his eyes bulging out and his cheeks turning bright red.
I didn't know what was going on. Mom and Dad loved Alex. Mom and Dad loved you. Why were they so mad? Then the phone rang.
"Jennifer? What? Evelyn left? No, she hasn't come home yet." I'd forgotten how overprotective Mrs. Foley is, even with me. There wasn't enough time to hide, either. Not that diving under a deck chair would do anything. Mom turned around and crooked a finger at me. "Never mind, she's here. Thanks for calling." She pulled open the door and yanked me inside. Her fingertips dug into my arm.
"What's going on?" I remember looking from Mom to Dad to you and back again. No one said anything. That's when I started to feel like I was going to throw up. Something was really wrong. I'd never seen our parents so angry.
"Priscilla," said Mom with a grimace, "apparently loves Alex."
Mom said this like it was a bad thing. Like it was a big news flash. It wasn't to me, though. I knew you loved Alex. You'd been telling me that for months. And I liked Alex. I liked how happy he made you.
"I do love Alex," you said.
"What's the big deal?" I asked.
"Alex is her baby's father." Mom pointed at your stomach. Dad sank down onto the couch.
I didn't know what to say. You weren't big, like the pregnant ladies I see on TV or at the mall. You were wearing a baggy T-shirt and sweatpants. But your face was pale and I could tell Mom was telling the truth.
It didn't make sense, though. You aren't the kind of girl who gets pregnant. Bad girls get pregnant, girls who have ... you know.
Excerpted from "P.S. I Miss You"
Copyright © 2018 Jen Petro-Roy.
Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Told in letters from little sister Evie to big sister Cilla, PS I Miss You provides an unflinching look into a young girl’s examination of her life. Evie is just beginning seventh grade, a time when most kids begin to question what they've been told all their lives. For Evie, the fact that her older has been sent away, almost erased, from the family exacerbates her feelings of disillusionment and uncertainty. As a result of the format (letters) and the mixture of Evie’s realizations (about herself, her parents, her God, and her friendships), PS I Miss You is a delicious cacophony of inner doubts, rages, and euphorias. I stayed up way too late reading ‘just one more letter’ s. Jen Petro-Roy’s work also had me thinking about writing some of my own letters: to seventh grade me, to Cilla, to Evie, and to their parents most of all! I highly recommend this story of an introspective adolescent who isn't afraid to identify and challenge the ideas and ideals she's grown up with.