Are You Alone on Purpose?

I squeed aloud when I saw this in the book store the other day. I literally hugged it, which made me the strange adult hanging out in the teen section. Not the first time. Won’t be the last.

I read this a while ago, and when I went to add it to my library it was out of print.  It has been republished which makes me happy.

Alison is the silent good girl unwilling to make her parents unhappy.  Harry is the class ass.  Determined to challenge his father, Harry is a  bully with a nasty streak.   After Harry’s accident which leaves him paralyzed Alison uses her guilt and maybe empathy to build a relationship with Harry that surprises them both.

It isn’t new now (hello  . . . Friday Night Lights) but the fact that Werlin addresses sex concerns of Harry, who is a paraplegic after his accident.  Something I am pretty sure a 15 (? 14? can’t remember exactly) year old boy and girl (Alison wonders too) might think about was pretty surprising to me when I first read the book.  She skirts around issues of faith too, in a fairly realistic way.  Another issue which at the time I first read this hadn’t really found much place beyond Are You There God?

Werlin’s later stuff is technically better, but I am glad this has found its way back in print – it is a tender story about families, growing up, and first love.