By Farrah Penn
Foreword by James Patterson
Read by Christie Moreau
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 13, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can’t be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.
Kira’s Twelve Steps To A Normal Life
1. Accept Grams is gone 2. Learn to forgive Dad 3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend…
And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent’s an alcoholic, there’s no such thing as “normal.”
When Kira’s father enters rehab, she’s forced to leave everything behind — her home, her best friends, her boyfriend…everything she loves. Now her father’s sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal…exactly as it was before she was sent away.
But is that what Kira really wants?
Life, love, and loss come crashing together in this visceral, heartfelt story by BuzzFeed writer Farrah Penn about a girl who struggles to piece together the shards of her once-normal life before his alcoholism tore it apart.
I USED TO THINK THE worst moment of my life happened in eighth grade when I got caught stealing the latest issue of Cosmopolitan from 7-Eleven because I didn’t have four dollars to learn all the secrets of being a great kisser.
I was wrong.
From several thousand feet in the air, our plane shakes. I try not to take it as a universal sign of my slowly accumulating bad luck. It doesn’t help that Aunt June put me on a flight to Austin on what is probably the rainiest day in the history of Portland. This delayed my departure, which forced me to text my dad to inform him I’d be arriving later than expected.
I’ve been unraveling the tight knots in my earphones for the last half hour to take my mind off my impending doom. The woman beside me watches as I do this. I’ve noticed she’s already read through her paperback romance and since there aren’t any movies playing on this flight, I must be the next best form of entertainment.
My fingers work through the last knot and break it free.
“Wow,” she comments. “Must have been really tangled in your pocket.”
I don’t respond. Instead, I take the white cord and begin looping it back into tiny knots, making sure I pull hard. She gives me a puzzled look before glancing away.
Our plane hits another spot of turbulence. I tell myself to concentrate on undoing the knots. I hate planes. I don’t particularly trust anything designed to defy the laws of gravity, nor do I enjoy being trapped in such a close vicinity to strangers who are all breathing the same recycled air. We have another hour before we’re scheduled to land, and then I’ll be home.
As much as I wish this were a celebratory occasion, coming home was not my decision. I thought I was accepting my permanent fate when I was sent to live with Aunt June in Portland. I’d learned to put up with the noisy city voices and the uncomfortable fold-out bed and walking a block and a half to do laundry. All of this was better than living with my dad.
But last week Aunt June broke the news that he was officially released from Sober Living Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center. She even brought home lasagna to celebrate—the slightly pricier frozen kind from Trader Joe’s.
“Of course I love having you here, doll,” she told me, squeezing me tight in the middle of her tiny kitchen. “I’m going to miss you something fierce.”
“But you want me to go back?” I mumbled into her crocheted top.
She pulled away, but I noticed a weight of emotion fall over her features. “I really think it’ll do you good to be home. I’ve talked with your daddy over the phone, and Margaret’s had a few meetings with him. I wouldn’t be telling you this if we didn’t think it was a good environment.”
Margaret is my social worker who always wears big Audrey Hepburn sunglasses to our meetings. She was a big believer in this rehabilitation center, but I was skeptical. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings hadn’t been enough to help my dad, so I doubted this would, either.
“He’ll be home Sunday morning,” Aunt June continued, handing me a plate before sitting down next to me. She took the broken chair—the one that rocked slightly if you leaned the wrong way. “I’ve already submitted your transcripts back to Cedarville. That way you can be back with all your friends in time to start junior year together.”
I could tell she expected me to be more excited. Going home meant that I could go back to my old life. The life that contained my best friends and boyfriend (well, ex-boyfriend now). I’d been on the dance team and participated in National Honor Society and Earth Club. I grew up going to school with everyone in my class, which was comfortable more than it was congested. Cedarville was a small town, but it was my small town.
Aunt June would have lost her job if she’d come to live with me in Texas, which is how I ended up in Portland. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with the situation, but I wasn’t exactly happy having to start over, either. My grades made it clear I wasn’t trying very hard in school. In the entire eleven months, I’d only made one friend—Katie Jones, who was obsessed with the movie Borat and had memorized all the national capitals of the world.
It wasn’t my best friends or ex-boyfriend that was making me hesitant to return. It was my father.
“Sounds good,” I told her, but there was very little enthusiasm in my voice.
She put her fork down. “You know you’re always welcome back here, doll. If you go home and decide it’s not where you want to be, you call me. Anytime, day or night. Okay?”
I promised I would, and that was that.
When she sent me off to the airport this afternoon, she gave me a long hug. I breathed in her scent of jasmine that had become one of my only comforts over the last several months. There were tears in her eyes when she pulled away.
In the row across from me, a dad watches his kid play some game on his Nintendo DS. The glow of the screen lights up their faces. He gives an encouraging “Good job, buddy!” when his son levels up. The entire exchange makes my gut twist in nervousness. I wish coming home to my dad would be that easy.
I pull tighter at my knots.
Six hours and one layover after taking off, I finally land in Austin. I’m jittery, like a rattling car engine on the verge of breaking down. This is home. I should be breathing sighs of relief. So why does being here feel so… foreign?
I go through the motions of shuffling off the plane, then make my way to the baggage claim. My two huge suitcases are patterned with silhouetted birds in flight, so they’re easy to spot on the carousel. I’m channeling all my inner Hulk strength—Why did I bring so many shoes?—as I lift the last one from the belt.
And that’s when I hear it.
I am not actually named after a particularly ill-tempered bird. I should find comfort in the longtime nickname my dad gave me, but a part of me doesn’t want to be his Goose. I just want to be Kira.
“Hi,” I say as he comes toward me. I’m sort of glad I have my luggage in my hands, because it’s an excuse not to hug him.
The first thing I notice is that he’s lost weight. His naturally dark hair is peppered with more gray than before, and he has traces of bags under his brown eyes. Most evenings he would drink himself to sleep, but maybe the detox threw off his internal clock.
My dad steps through my barrier of luggage and leans in to hug me. I breathe into his soft button-down out of habit. Smelling alcohol on him was always a giveaway, but all I smell is unfamiliar laundry detergent and a bit of musky cologne.
“Here, let me get that.” He takes the handles of my two heavy rollaways in each hand. “How was your flight?”
“Good,” I lie.
Small talk. I’m sure he doesn’t care to hear about the weather and the plane that shook us around like a Magic 8-Ball.
“Good, good,” he repeats, and then we walk out of the airport and into the balmy Texas night.
I spot his cherry-red Nissan as we walk to the parking lot. Old dents and dings and scuffs litter the body, but I find myself inspecting it for new scars. Which is stupid. My dad wasn’t allowed to bring his car to Sober Living and he hasn’t been home long enough to inflict new damage.
He places my bags in the trunk and then we get inside, ready to make the forty-minute drive to Cedarville.
My stomach flips in a nervous sort of way. I shouldn’t be so anxious to go back. Maybe it’s because I haven’t contacted Lin or Whitney or Raegan, three of my best friends since elementary. It’s not that I didn’t want to let them know I’m back, because I definitely do. I guess I wanted it to be real for me first.
I begin to type a group text to them.
“Good to know not that much has changed,” my dad jokes, glancing at my cell.
It’s an attempt to break the ice, but I don’t reply. I’m not in the mood to try and put forth any type of conversation. Even though he’s written me dozens of apology letters, that doesn’t make up for all the time I lost being without my friends and boyfriend and my own life.
I finish typing and hit Send.
My dad takes a small breath, like he’s gathering up the courage to speak. Then he does. “Sober Living is a great facility. Really great, supportive people. I’m feeling really good about this, Goose.” When I don’t respond, he continues. “The ranch was beautiful. I took some pictures, but I still need to figure out how to get them off my SD card. There were horses—it reminded me of when you were a little thing. When I took you to the petting zoo near Austin?”
I nod, remembering the brochure from Sober Living all those months ago. It talked all about how the twelve-step program could explore and empower their lives and how they used equestrian therapy to create connection and personal fulfillment. I didn’t quite understand how riding a horse was supposed to enforce sobriety, but whatever.
“We made a lot of ceramics, too,” he continues.
Arts and crafts. Brilliant.
I don’t want to come home with a terrible attitude toward his progress, but it’s hard to trust his optimism when Alcoholics Anonymous hasn’t exactly worked for him in the past. He’d commit to it for a while with the help of Michael, his sponsor, and the twelve-step program, but then he’d ultimately fall back into his excessive drinking routine.
I was thirteen when my dad came home from his first AA weekend retreat. He brought a present for me, poorly wrapped in newspaper. When I opened it, I discovered a pale green ceramic mug he’d made by hand. At the bottom was a decal of a cartoon pug, his floppy tongue hanging out.
“Because you love pugs!” he said.
He was so proud of himself. It made my heart ache. My pug obsession had ended in like, second grade. It was like he barely knew me at all.
His creation sat in the china cabinet, displayed for all to see, but when he wasn’t home I took it out and hid it in the back of the pantry. It was embarrassing—something a little kid should show off, not a grown adult.
I wonder how many ceramic mugs it took to help him stay clean this time. I say this aloud because a part of me feels like being spiteful. Silence falls thick between us. I’m not sure if he heard me. I tell myself I don’t care.
We clear through dense clusters of oak trees and emerge into the flat, wide landscape of Cedarville. It’s a running joke that there are more cows than homes out here, but I’ve always loved how everyone on the farm town outskirts owns so much property. Whitney is the only one of my friends who lives a few miles outside the suburbs of Cedarville. When we were younger we would take turns riding her go-kart on the expanse of green acres in her backyard.
“Mr. Buckley offered me a janitorial position at Cedarville Elementary,” my dad says. “I guess we’ll both have big days tomorrow, huh?”
I shrug. This time he gives up on the small talk. We stay silent for the rest of the ride home.
It never used to be like this. Before Grams died, we had our own Wednesday night tradition where we’d bake homemade pizzas and watch an episode of Crime Boss, a show similar to Law & Order (with a whopping fourteen seasons and counting) that always replayed on various networks. He used to scribble awful puns on napkins—ORANGE you glad it’s Friday?!—and slip them into my lunch sack. I’d always pretend it was so lame, but I was secretly pleased when my friends found them hilarious.
Sometimes he’d text me selfies he took in the milk aisle of the grocery store, mock-terror on his face as he captioned it with, I CAN’T REMEMBER WHICH % WE BUY HELP. He’d buy ingredients for dinners he found on cooking blogs and together we’d whip up homemade ziti and falafel.
We’re a long way away from those days now.
When we pull in the driveway, Dad gets out to grab my bags from the trunk. I reach in the backseat for my purse, but I’m fumbling blindly in the dark. I flip on the overhead light so I can see. That’s when I spot it. There, lying in the middle seat, is a mug-shaped gift wrapped in newspaper, tied neatly with a turquoise ribbon.
MY DAD HAS THE KEYS in his hand, but he doesn’t let us inside right away. I step around him and make my way up the porch. If I had my own key with me I would let myself in, but I don’t. It’s inside along with the rest of my interrupted life.
Our house looks the same. The rusty red brick exterior held up without us during tornado season last spring. I notice the plants in the front look a little wilted, but with unsurprisingly hot summers, that’s to be expected. Grams’s white porch swing gently sways in the night’s breeze, and a familiar emptiness falls over me. I remember her sitting out here every morning in her terry cloth robe before I went to school. How she’d kiss me on the cheek and tell me to Be good, darlin’.
It’s been two years since she unexpectedly passed from a heart attack, but some days it feels like yesterday. Being back here at her house, where her memory lives so strongly, brings back the dull ache of her loss.
I wait for my dad to catch up to me, noticing that he takes his time hauling my suitcases up the porch steps.
“Listen.” He hesitates, thumbs over the house key. The floodlight is on, and I can see spiderwebs of wrinkles near his eyes. “We have some company.”
“Company?” I repeat, wondering if it’s my social worker Margaret, or if he’d already contacted Lin and Whitney and Raegan.
My heart squeezes tight. Leaving my friends was hard, but leaving Jay was harder. Because I was falling for him, and being forced to leave someone you’re falling for is kind of like having to throw away a chocolate swirl cone after one bite.
In Cedarville, you grow up with the same group of kids. You know birthdays by heart and whose parents are on the PTA and who’s allergic to nuts or latex. I knew Jay Valenski, but I’d never noticed Jay Valenski.
I did, however, start noticing him in history class.
He’d gotten his braces off and started taming his puffy hair with the magic of hair wax. He was always giving these super intellectual responses in class discussions, but he’d litter his replies with humor and always make the whole room laugh. I’m not exactly a world history fan, but I found myself poring over our assigned reading so I could contribute. I figured the more I talked in class, the more he’d notice me.
Of course it didn’t occur to me that it would be much easier to just talk to him outside of class.
I was right behind him when we were leaving history one afternoon. He was opening a packet of those fun-sized M&M’s, so I seized the opportunity when he turned in my direction to throw the packaging away.
“Did you know red M&M’s were taken off the shelves at one point in time?”
I regretted the words the moment I said them. He just stared at me. Oh god. He thought I was a total dork. I could feel the heat in my cheeks. My skin burned.
But he laughed. In this completely charming, nice guy way. “For how long?”
“Like, ten years.”
“How could an entire decade of chocolate lovers be deprived of one of the most important primary colors?”
An ease of relief let up in my chest. “Good thing they came to their senses.”
We became closer friends after that. He started sitting by me in history, and sometimes we’d walk to the Sno Shack after school. He told me about his obsession with Sudoku and putting together those classic model car kits. I told him about my obsession with pineapples and how I had all sorts of vibrant knick-knacks decorating my room.
He was on the freshman basketball team and I’d joined the Wavettes—our school’s dance team. On Fridays, he started coming early to football games to see me perform.
I always loved spotting him in the crowd.
I loved other things about him, too. Like how he’d call me Kira Kay, a nonsensical nickname he made up because it rhymed with Jay. Or how he complimented the rare occasions when I got up early to straighten my thick mass of dark hair.
“I have something for you,” he said to me once at lunch.
I raised a speculative eyebrow. “Oh?”
“Yup. Prepare to be impressed.”
“I’m fully prepared. Hit me.”
He unfurled his hand, revealing a small tin of canned pineapples.
I laughed. I had recently argued in favor of pineapple on pizza and commented that our cafeteria never put enough on the slices they sold. But he revealed he couldn’t get behind that topping. I believe his actual words were, It’s a tragic way to ruin a pie.
“For the next pizza day,” he clarified, smiling. Oh, his smile was so charming. “Go to town.”
I was attracted to him. I loved his earthy brown hair and taut, long arms. When we saw each other before school, I’d yearn for him to hold my hand. I would get this deep, erratic sensation in the pit of my stomach just thinking of how it would feel to have his fingers twined in mine. It felt stronger than simply a feeling. It was a sort of VOOSH that shot right up my spine and into my heart.
After Friday football games, Whitney, Raegan, Lin, and I would meet at Sonic with him and his friends, Colton and Breck. He always sat by me, and he always ordered the same thing: a blue raspberry slush. We’d talk until we were the last two people sitting at the plastic picnic tables.
We were there so late one night that he offered to walk me home. I was still in my uniform from performing earlier, and he was wearing his red and white Cedarville basketball T-shirt. I liked the way everyone stared at us when we left. It felt like we belonged together.
He walked me all the way up to my porch, where my stomach was cramping from laughing so hard at his impression of our history teacher, Mr. Benet, who dragged out certain words when he spoke to the class.
“Who can tell me about the Treatyyyyyy of Cahuengaaaaa?”
“Stop!” I snorted. “You’re awful.”
“Then whyyyyy are you laughinggggg?”
I playfully slapped him on the chest. He took my hand and pulled me closer to him. My breathing grew rapid, my pulse quickening.
“I like you a lot, you know.”
I didn’t know much about anatomy, but I was pretty positive my heart somersaulted.
I smiled. He stared right into my eyes, his tongue running over his bottom lip. He was nervous. I was nervous. But, oh god, I wanted this so bad. I saved screenshots of his texts when he sent me heart emojis or when he typed that he was thinking of me. I tallied up the number of times we’d held hands and how long we hugged and if he ever took an extra second to smell my hair. But this? This was something I didn’t even have to think twice about wanting.
He leaned close. Our lips brushed.
His lips were soft and cool and tasted like raspberry. I spent the entire weekend playing it back in my mind.
I was the one that started the inconspicuous hangman games in history class. I’d draw the tiny diagram with blank lines on the corner of my notebook and scribble a hint at the top. Movies. Teachers. Sports. After an entire week of playing together, I solved the best hangman puzzle in the history of hangman puzzles:
go out with me?
Of course, I said yes.
We dated for a long time. When I found out I was moving to Portland, I stayed in my room and cried for the entire weekend. I tried to be hopeful at first. I figured that we could stay together through texting and video chat, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same. Eventually we’d grow apart. Or worse, I’d start becoming jealous of every girl who was closer to him in physical distance than me. What I had to do seemed inevitable.
I broke up with him in the school parking lot after practice. It turned out he was more hopeful than me, promising my situation was only temporary. The truth was we both didn’t know that. I had no idea when—or if—I was ever coming back to Cedarville.
There was a knock on my front door later that night. I flipped the porch light on to answer it, but no one was there. When I looked down, I saw a simple greeting card with a rolling green Texas field on the front. I opened it and instantly recognized Jay’s slanted handwriting.
Don’t forget about me, he’d written.
It killed me that he was still so optimistic.
I never said good-bye to Jay, but I hoped he understood. I couldn’t selfishly keep him as mine when I didn’t even know if I’d be coming back. My friends knew I didn’t want to break up with him, but he was still another part of my life that I lost when I was sent to Portland.
But the way my dad’s looking at me tells me that Jay isn’t the one inside.
“I have company staying from Sober Living.”
I’m jolted away from my thoughts of Jay. Wait—what? Someone from the rehabilitation center? I’m confused. And annoyed. It’s almost nine o’clock at night. Why would he have company over so late? Besides, aren’t there post-rehab rules? I’m sure there are. I bet one of them says no hanging out when it’s over or something.
“Okay.” I blow out a breath. “I’m kind of tired. I didn’t know you were going to have someone over tonight.”
I hope he doesn’t expect me to play the Good Daughter this evening. I’m not in the mood.
“Well, um.” He looks uncomfortable. “It’s actually more than one person. We all became so close at the ranch, and I told them if they needed time to get their lives in order…”
I feel my stomach drop. No, no, no no no. Please, please don’t let this be true. It can’t be true. Because there is no way my dad—my supposed newly sober and responsible father—has brought home a bunch of other alcoholics to live with us. How could he ever think that was a good idea? Margaret certainly wouldn’t.
“So,” I start slowly, hoping I have this all wrong. “They’re inside now?”
“We’re taught to help and support each other.” There’s more authority in his voice now. “They need a little time to get back on their feet. I promise, Kira, if I had even the slightest feeling that they were a threat I wouldn’t have invited them. But they aren’t. They’re really great people. You’ll see.”
Great people? Is he serious? Opening our home to these recovering addicts is the last thing we both need.
I’m opening my mouth to tell him this, but the front door swings open. A woman in a navy dress stands there with a radiant smile on her face.
“I thought I heard someone!” I notice right away that she’s one of those women who have a naturally loud voice. “Come in! What are y’all still doing outside?”
I stand there, staring from her to my father. He heaves my luggage up the porch and steps around me. I follow behind. What else can I do?
“This is Peach,” my dad says by way of introduction.
The woman called Peach beams at me as I set my purse on the entryway table. I guess that maybe she’s in her late thirties. There’s a smudge of pink lipstick on one tooth. Her pale hair is piled on top of her head and tightly secured with one of those giant clips. There are slight creases around her tired eyes.
“A true pleasure to meet you,” Peach tells me. “Your daddy talked so much about you at the ranch!”
“Uh,” is the only thing I can think to say.
A guy wearing dozens of leather bracelets on each arm steps toward me. “You must be Kira.”
I blink up at him. His long hair is pulled back into a ponytail and he’s wearing a black T-shirt that has the word namaste in cursive on the front. When he smiles at me, I notice a gap between his teeth. He can’t be older than twenty-five. Or maybe it’s his gawkiness that makes him look young.
“I’m Saylor,” he tells me, sticking out a hand.
Warily, I take it. His skin is slightly chapped.
Before I can even process my overwhelming thoughts, an older lady appears in front of me. She’s wearing a neon-pink sweater that has blue jaguars (jaguars?) patterned all over, and on her feet are two giant… cats? Confirmed. She is definitely wearing fuzzy feline slippers. Her gray hair is in giant rollers. She squints as if her vision is troubling her, peering at me through her turquoise frames.
“Kira! Oh, it’s so nice to meet you.” Her rollers bob up and down as she speaks. “Call me Nonnie.”
My breathing is shallow. I feel light-headed. I think I might be sick. Or claustrophobic. This was not the homecoming I expected. I’m sure everything was all kumbaya at the ranch, but bringing a group of alcoholics here? Into our lives? Into my life?
I consider calling Aunt June. There’s no way she knew about my dad’s plans. She would honestly think this whole situation is completely bananas.
Plus, how are we supposed to house three extra people? I mean, sure we have a fold-out couch and—
Wait. No. There’s no way Dad would offer up Grams’s room. But when I look over at him, I can tell he’s already made the decision. My blood boils, fueled by heat and anger and betrayal.
I grab my purse and the closest suitcase to me. “I’m going to bed.”
My dad nods gently. “Of course. You’ve had a long day.” He steps forward to hug me, but I step back. He looks hurt. I pretend I don’t notice. “We’ll see you in the morning.”
Saylor motions to my other suitcase. “I’ll get this one.”
Before I can say no, he grabs it and begins taking the stairs two at a time. Sighing, I follow.
We reach the top landing, and I make a right toward my bedroom. Saylor starts to follow me inside, but I snatch my suitcase from him with more force than the both of us were expecting.
“I got it. Thanks.” My words are clipped and ungrateful, but I don’t care.
Saylor gives a little shrug and smiles. “Okie dokie. Have a good night.”
I don’t say anything as I forcefully shut the door behind me.
My room has always been my sanctuary. The yellow pineapple lamp Lin bought for me sits on my IKEA nightstand. Strands of twinkle lights zigzag across my ceiling. It’d taken two hours and three extension cords to make it happen, but the result makes it look like a starry night. My yellow throw rug, aside from all the nail polish stains, matches the little yellow pineapple trinkets I have lined up on the shelf above my desk.
Praise for Twelve Steps to Normal:A Publishers' Lunch 2018 Buzz Book
* "Penn creates a realistic character in Kira, one who finely balances the rational thoughts of a child of addiction with the emotional struggles of a high school student. Kira's journey should speak to many teenage readers, even those who do not have firsthand experience with addiction or addicts. ... A smart recommendation for readers looking to escape into a substantive world of personal discovery."—Kirkus, starred review
"Twelve Steps to Normal is a searing, gut-punch of a story--one that is, unfortunately, all too common. It takes us through all the painful steps of a relationship with someone suffering from addiction, but it does so in a voice that's funny and personal enough to make us want to keep turning the page, even when we are afraid of what we might find there."—Josh Sundquist, bestselling author of We Should Hang Out Sometime and Love and First Sight
"Funny, honest, and smart, Twelve Steps to Normal is filled with nuanced characters who you can't help caring about."—Melina Marchetta, author of the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Jellicoe Road
"Penn nicely captures the all-consuming emotions of a teen wrestling life into some sort of order. ... Penn's note to the reader explains that she too had a father who suffered from alcoholism, and it's this loving, compassionate hindsight that will speak honestly to readers in the same situation."—Booklist
"Twelve Steps to Normal is a powerful, heartfelt debut about the lengths we'll go for those we love, and the hurdles we encounter along the way. In pages brimming with honesty, Penn shines an empathetic light on addiction, ultimately demonstrating that forgiveness--not only its redemptive qualities, but its messy ones, too--is well worth the struggle."—David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland
"Farrah Penn's debut, Twelve Steps to Normal, is a heartfelt story about the aftermath of addiction. Equal parts swoony and poignant, I couldn't help but cheer for her main character Kira as she tries to put her life back together in the wake of loss."—Julie Buxbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things
"Step one: Pick up this compulsively readable book and fall in love with its richly drawn characters and deeply empathetic reminder that none of us are broken beyond repair.Step two: Repeat."—Jeff Zentner, author of the ALA William C. Morris Award winner The Serpent King
"Poignant and powerful, Penn's story is searing in its insight into the human heart and the effects of addiction. Bravo!"—Adriana Mather, author of #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch
"Farrah Penn's characters feel like old friends and new loves, all intertwined in a story that feels achingly familiar yet entirely original. Bursting with humor and heart, Twelve Steps to Normal is a dazzling debut you won't want to miss."—Jessica Taylor, author of Junior Library Guild selection A Map for Wrecked Girls
"A heartfelt, nuanced story about learning to forgive and taking the best of the past, hoping for the best of the future. Kira's struggle to understand and move on from her father's flaws to her own is moving and real."—Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title My Life Next Door
- On Sale
- Mar 13, 2018
- Hachette Audio