Optimists Die First
Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she'd kept an eye on her sister, if only she'd sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only...Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world's most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula's ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she's paired with Jacob for a class project, there's no denying they have brilliant ideas together - ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats. But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts - and when the truth comes out, there's no way Petula is ready for it.
"Hilarious, heart-warming and beautifully unexpected - a real keeper" Lisa Williamson "I fell for Optimists Die First like I was curled up with a familiar favourite - offbeat charm, with a bittersweet romance at its sorrowful heart." -- Harriet Reuter Hapgood "Optimists Die First will make you feel bigger in every way. Bigger in courage to face a dangerous world; bigger in feeling; bigger in love; bigger in your ability to put yourself back together after something that should break you; and yes, bigger in optimism" -- Jeff Zentner "Nielsen writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humour" Starred review, Kirkus "The novel's greatest strength is its handling of the characters' very real burdens with sympathy, wit, and not an ounce of melodrama. Nielsen excels at depicting troubled, clever teenagers" Starred review, School Library Journal
Susin Nielsen got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for many Canadian TV series. Nielsen's first two young adult novels, Word Nerd and Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, received critical acclaim and multiple Young Readers' Choice Awards. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen won the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year and many Young Readers' Choice Awards. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two extremely destructive cats. http://www.susinnielsen.com/