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Young Adult Fiction Mental Illness


by (author) Patrick Downes

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2019
Mental Illness, General (see also headings under Social Themes), Emotions & Feelings
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
9 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price

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A teenaged boy struggles as he watches his family and relationships fracture after the death of his mother, and is now faced with the terrible possibility that his twin brother may have just killed their father.

Seventeen-year-old Rad comes home to find his father lying broken and dead at the bottom of the ravine behind their house. Rad’s twin brother, shaken but very much alive, had watched their father fall.

Desperate to understand what has happened before calling the police, Rad confronts his brother and the complicated landscape of their past. He reconstructs not just the circumstances leading to his father’s death, but the history of his family.

How can a family simply disintegrate? Were they ever happy, or were the roots of unhappiness always there? What plagued his father? What plagues Rad?

As the time comes to do the right thing, the question remains. Did his brother kill their father? And what will happen to the boys now?

About the author

PATRICK DOWNES’ first two novels for young adults, Fell of Dark and Ten Miles One Way, received multiple starred reviews and were named to best-of lists (NYPL Best Books for Teens, Booklist Top 10, Kirkus Best Teen Reads). He is also the author of Come Home, Angus (illustrated by Boris Kulikov), a picture book.

A New York City native, Patrick splits his time between the United States and Canada.


Patrick Downes' profile page

Excerpt: Island (by (author) Patrick Downes)


“Jacqui?” I had never said her name, and it felt sticky and sweet on my lips, like cotton candy.

“Rad, I’ve spent some time thinking about this. I think we should be friends.”

Silence. I was tasting her name, the taste of blue.

“What do you think, Rad? Interested?”


“Why what?”

“Why do you want to be friends with me?”

Jacqui rocked back and forth on her feet. “Don’t be stupid,” she said.

“That’s hard for me,” I said. [54]


Editorial Reviews

[A] narrative that also makes space for love and understanding, where bridges triumph over isolation.