Optimists Die First

By Susin Nielsen
Read by Julia Whelan

4.98 Hours 02/21/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9781524723033

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    ISBN: 9781524723026

Award-winning author Susin Nielsen has written a laugh-out-loud and heartrending novel for fans of Robyn Schneider’s Extraordinary Means and Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will.   Beware: Life ahead.   Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.   The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group threatens to derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . . Praise: “Nielsen writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humor.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred   “Nielsen excels at depicting troubled, clever teenagers in familiar environments.” —School Library Journal, Starred  “[An] empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred “A poignant exploration into the nuances of healing.” —Quill and Quire, Starred

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Summary

Summary

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Award-winning author Susin Nielsen has written a laugh-out-loud and heartrending novel for fans of Robyn Schneider’s Extraordinary Means and Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will.
 
Beware: Life ahead.
 
Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.
 
The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group threatens to derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .

Praise:
“Nielsen writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humor.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
“Nielsen excels at depicting troubled, clever teenagers in familiar environments.” —School Library Journal, Starred 

“[An] empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred

“A poignant exploration into the nuances of healing.” —Quill and Quire, Starred

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Heartbreaking and hopeful, this is a solid choice for readers looking for a book to make them cry and laugh at the same time. Booklist
Susin Nielsen once more brings readers a story that is infused with light-hearted humour, even as it touches on numerous weighty issues. Canadian Children's Book News
Here, as in Nielsen’s previous award-winning novels, her use of first-person narration is compellingly believable. The short chapters sprint by with sitcom pacing and snappy dialogue . . . This novel is about how good people can make mistakes and then learn to accept them. Vancouver Sun
The dialogue is effortless, the plot moves at a fast pace, and the scenes come alive. . . . a poignant exploration into the nuances of healing. Quill and Quire, Starred
Grief and guilt permeate Nielsen’s (We Are All Made of Molecules) empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue. Publishers Weekly, Starred
Nielsen writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humor. Kirkus Reviews, Starred 
Nielsen excels at depicting troubled, clever teenagers in familiar environments. School Library Journal, Starred
“Narrator Julia Whelan expresses this YA heroine’s sardonic tone so well that sixteen-year-old Petula risks becoming an unlikable character. Thankfully, Whelan is also expert at conveying the story’s witty tone, Petula’s fragility, and the chemistry she has with Jacob…Whelan also portrays minor characters’ unique traits, preventing them from being flat characters who merely represent issues…Whelan balances grief and heartbreak with humor and hope. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile

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Reviews

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Author

Author Bio: Susin Nielsen

Susin Nielsen, a Gemini Award–winning author, got her start writing sixteen episodes of the hit television show Degrassi Junior High, and four of the books in the Degrassi book series. Since then, she has received two Canadian Screenwriter awards and has written and story-edited many TV series, including Ready or Not, Madison, The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, Edgemont, and two animated series, What About Mimi and Braceface.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Fiction
Runtime: 4.98
Audience: Young Adult (12–17)
Language: English