"Sáenz' poetic narrative will captivate readers from the first sentence to the last paragraph of this beautifully written novel. . . . It is also a celebration of life and a song of hope in celebration of family and friendship, one that will resonate loud and long with teens."—Kirkus Reviews
"…There is never a question of either Sáenz’s own extraordinary capacity for caring and compassion or the authenticity of the experiences he records in this heartfelt account of healing and hope."—Booklist
"Offering insight into [an adolescent's] addiction, dysfunction and mental illness, particularly in the wake of traumatic events, Sáenz's artful rendition of the healing process will not soon be forgotten."—Publishers Weekly
"Sáenz weaves together [18-year-old] Zach's past, present, and changing disposition toward his future with stylistic grace and emotional insight. This is a powerful and edifying look into both a tortured psyche and the methods by which it can be healed."—School Library Journal
Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He's also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. He's not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive—well, what's up with that?
I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts he writes Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some people's hearts he writes Angry and on some people's hearts he writes Winner and on some people's hearts he writes Loser.
It's all like a game to him. Him. God. And it's all pretty much random. He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts. When it came to my turn, he wrote. I don't like God very much. Apparently he doesn't like me very much either. Sad
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a prolific novelist, poet, and author of children's books. Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, his first novel for young adults, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Young Adult Library Services Association Top Ten Books for Young Adults pick in 2005.