Join us for a reading and conversation with debut YA author Rocky Callen about mental health, writing for teens, and her brand new book, A Breath Too Late, published by Holt Children's/Macmillan on April 28. Moderated by Isabella Ogbolumani, a rising junior at Cornell and our our former YA curator, who will be joined by Leah Wardlaw, a senior at Ithaca High School who is also a member of ACTion, the Advocacy Center Teen activism group. Content warning: this book deals with family abuse and suicide, and our conversation will, too. We are proud to be partnering with NAMI Fingerlakes, the Advocacy Center, and the Sophie Fund, local organizations which will provide additional resources on these subjects.
Click here to register.
Rocky Callen, the daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant, has long lived a life of service ever since she was a 13-year-old advocating for the undocumented immigrants in her community. She interned at NASA at 12 years old, started lobbying congress at 13, and wrote and produced student radio stories at NPR at 14.
A behavioral therapist for over ten years, she received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband, daughter, and baby boy. Rocky founded the Bleed Ink Foundation, a creative hub and resource center for writers, and the HoldOn2Hope Project, which unites creatives in suicide prevention and mental health awareness. A Breath Too Late is her debut novel.
For fans of Girl in Pieces, All the Bright Places, and Girl, Interrupted comes a haunting and breathtaking YA contemporary debut novel that packs a powerful message: hope can be found in the darkness.
“Achingly poignant . . . a love letter and a life raft to the brokenhearted.” –New York Times bestselling author Alison McGhee
Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death.
But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There's her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists. And Ellie's determined to find out why a piece of her was left behind.
Told in epistolary-like style, Rocky Callen's deeply moving A Breath Too Late sensitively examines the beautiful and terrible moments that make up a life and the possibilities that live in even the darkest of places. Perfect for fans of the critically-acclaimed Speak, I’ll Give You the Sun, and If I Stay.
"An exquisitely played love song to life, in all of its hurts, wonders, memories, and loves." –Jeff Zentner, Morris Award winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days
"A haunting story, punctuated with brilliant points of hope and light. This is an important story. A necessary story . . . Callen’s writing radiates with passion, honesty and love." —National Book Award finalist and Printz Award–winning author An Na