This Side of Forever
Award Winning Teen Novel By Jo Chandler
What more do you have to lose when you’ve lost everything?
Ask sixteen-year-old Annie Bloom.
Annie Bloom and Lexi Vanderkamp are out for a night of drinking beer and having fun in Annie’s camaro when Lexi, who’s driving, makes a fatal mistake. Annie is left to deal with the consequences of her best friend’s death.
Problem is, Annie has a drinking problem, and the more she blames herself for Lexi’s fatality, the more she drinks to forget. Unable to deal with the growing guilt over her part in the accident, Annie breaks up with her all-star boyfriend, Adam, and takes up with a guy called Raunch, who more than lives up to his nickname.
Raunch seduces Annie with his penetrating blue eyes and easy access to the best alcohol she’s ever had. Together, they embark on a series of drunken adventures that eventually threatens Annie’s life.
But it’s the journey that Annie takes alone, after hours of relentless drinking, that ultimately alters who she is and everything she believes in.
I clench the cell phone to my ear and try to ignore that queasy feeling I get in my gut whenever Adam starts in on my alcohol intake.
“I don’t want you to go,” he says. “We both know you’ll drink and drive.” He pauses, then picks up the conversation in a softer voice, “I’m worried, Annie. You’re drinking way too much.”
I head down the stairs and grab my backpack from the coat hook. It’s bad enough he’s all over me about drinking. Now this thing about the party. I don’t get it. I asked him to come with me and he said no. Discussion over. But I know it’s not, so I lean against the wall to wait it out.
“Annie? Are you there? Did you hear me? I don’t want you to go.”
He sounds so sad that part of me wants to give in. Besides, he’s right. I shouldn’t drink and drive. But I know my limit, and a little buzz never hurt anyone, so I say, “Look, I’m a big girl, okay? I can take care of myself.”
I click off the phone and instantly regret it. Still, if I let Adam start telling me what to do all the time, I’ll turn into my mother.
I won’t be any man’s doormat. Not ever. Not even Adam’s.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
An Absorbing Cautionary Tale
“This Side of Forever” is the story of a teenage girl spiraling out of control due to alcoholism. It is an absorbing cautionary tale without being preachy. The story will grab you immediately due to the excellent writing. You will find yourself easily relating and caring for the young characters as they struggle to find their way. Just like the book jacket art that contrasts dark elements with rays of light on the horizon, Ms. Chandler effectively combines the dark reality of teen addiction with the light of recovery, redemption, and spirituality.
. . .The story transcends all age groups. Buy it for your teenage children and grandchildren, but don’t deprive yourself the pleasure of reading such a well-crafted, multi-layered story of hope and salvation for our next generation of adults.
~Gil Tisnado, Retired Educator
A gripping story for women of any age, to embrace the sometimes lost sometimes spunky girl in us. Chandler writes about pain, teen alcohol addiction, daughter-mother bond with great insight.
~Teresa LeYoung-Ryan, Writing Coach
What a Great Read!
I highly recommend this book to all YA’s and to parents maybe struggling with the choices their teens are making. This story is real and yet gives the reader hope.
~Linda Bello-Ruiz, Award Winning Author
I loved this novel. Iloved the story and characters. I think it’d make a great film someday. I can’t wait for her next novel.
~Sharday Preyer, Former Student
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