The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent

Carolrhoda Lab. Mar. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781728423951.
Gr 10 Up–Del’s suicide attempt is in the past. Now she is sober, getting help for her depression and anxiety, and working in a crisis center helping others with suicidal tendencies. However, her world is turned upside down when Aunt Fran, with whom she has been living in San Francisco, is diagnosed with cancer. Now Del must care for herself and her aunt, preparing for what’s to come and what it means for her mental health. Taking place over five months in 2015, this book takes readers on a bittersweet, hard-hitting journey with Del as she tackles more than an 18-year-old should. Jacobus expertly covers numerous tough subjects, from Del’s addiction, and mental health, to Fran’s inevitable death from cancer. There isn’t any sugarcoating regarding these topics, making it a challenging read for some. Those who can handle the issues will only put the book down when they need a moment to process them. A note to readers provides information on whom to contact if one has thoughts of suicide. The back of the book contains discussion questions and a note from the author on her own experience with the subjects in her book. Characters cue as white.
VERDICT Numerous triggering topics can make this a book to hand-sell—purchase where readers look for books with tough subjects.

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