How She Died, How I Lived

YA Contemporary

by Mary Crockett
Fall 2018 – Little Brown Books for Young Readers (US)

An edgy, poignant, thought-provoking novel about a girl who must overcome her survivor’s guilt after a fellow classmate is brutally murdered, and discover what it means to be truly alive.

I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Me. Lindsey Farrier. Taylor Avril. Blair Mattern. Jamie Stroud. And Jamie was the only one nice enough to give him the time. She laughed before anyone else could laugh at her. She reached out to anyone who didn’t fit in. A sweet girl whose sweetness killed her.

On the eve of Kyle’s sentencing a year after Jamie’s death, all the other Chosen Ones are coping in various ways, but our narrator is stuck. She’s still trying to figure out why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead. But then she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie’s boyfriend—knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. How do you go on living when you know it could have been you? Maybe it should have been you?

In an age where the certainty of horrific events looms over tomorrow’s breaking news, Mary Crockett’s characters ultimately display the resiliency, courage and ability to find some good to aim their lives toward after being shook vividly to life. Crockett engages with the daily and even extreme fears that girls and women have to deal with all over the world. She effectively marries the teenage experience with the raw emotions that break you in times of grief.

Mary Crockett grew up the youngest in a family of misfits in southwestern Virginia. An award-winning poet, she has her MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. Her debut YA novel, Dream Boy, coauthored with Madelyn Rosenberg, published in 2014.