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Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers Fall 2019

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Confessions of a Teenage Leper
By (author): Ashley Little
9780735266018 Paperback, Trade English Young Adult : Age (years) from 14, Grade (US) from 9 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Health & Daily Living / Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries Sep 03, 2019
$13.99 CAD
Active 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.69 in 304 pages Penguin Random House Canada Teen Penguin Teen
Cheerleading, mean girls, shopping…and leprosy? High school is about to get complicated. For fans of Before I Fall and Exit, Pursued By a Bear.

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She’s hot, she’s popular, she’s a cheerleader and she’s going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It’ll all be hers.

But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She’s tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she’s tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen’s Disease, aka leprosy.

Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can’t even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!

But it’s during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen’s Disease. She’s becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she’s on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn’t like what she sees…

Darkly comic but ultimately touching, Confessions of a Teenage Leper is an ugly duckling tale with a surprising twist.

Story Locale: Texas

UNUSUAL SUBJECT MATTER: Hansen’s Disease is increasingly rare, but still affects 250,000 people worldwide, and infection source and transmission is still being studied. Armadillos are carriers.

UP-AND-COMING AUTHOR: Ashley Little’s previous books have garnered increasing attention, positive reviews and award nominations. With her biting prose and unflinching observations, she’s one to watch.

UNIQUE VOICE: Abby is infuriating, funny, oblivious and sharp—she’s a memorable character dealing with upheaval and major life change in a funny and real way.

ROMANCE: Abby meets a handsome cadet at a boot camp for troubled teens in the same facility.

RELATABLE: Abby will be familiar to all readers, either as an obnoxious popular kid or a familiar friend. Either way, readers will be compelled by her journey.

EXIT, PURSUED BY BEAR by E.K. Johnston meets FIRECRACKER by David Iserson.

ASHLEY LITTLE received a BFA in Creative Writing and Film Studies from the University of Victoria and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her book The New Normal won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, and Anatomy of a Girl Gang won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and has been optioned for television. Her most recent novel, Niagara Motel, was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Ashley lives in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

Author Residence: Okanagan Valley, BC

PRAISE FOR Confessions of a Teenage Leper:

“An unusual twist on the typical sick teenager story.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Authentically depicts the realities of Hansen’s Disease, but also traces Abby’s development from shallow and mean to thoughtful and caring. The novel will provide teen readers with meaningful questions about the true meaning of beauty.”—Recommended, CM Magazine

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