by Marilyn Reynolds

Eighteen-year-old Erica Arrendondo is a serious student with her sights set on a career as a veterinarian. Then, after his mother dies a sudden, accidental death, Erica's boyfriend, Danny, turns to drugs and alcohol to escape his grief. As his life spins out of control, Erica struggles to help Danny get back on track. After a tragic turn of events, Erica finally realizes that she can't save Danny, and that she is losing herself in the process of trying. Thus begins the difficult task of finding the strength and will to put her own life back together.

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ISBN: 978-1-929777-01-3
Paperback
192 pages

Grade level: 9 and up

Lexile count: 720

AR 8.0 IL: UG  BL: 4.5

But What About Me? has also been translated into Chinese (not available through New Wind Publishing).

Reviews:Teen readers wrote:

This book shows the truth. A relationship where one person is caught up in the life of the other. A relationship where a young teen thinks she's in love. But What About Me? reminds young girls what a REAL relationship is and not just what a young girl thinks. Yes the feelings may think you’re in love, but always remember use your head! — Linda

The book was awesome....i loved the action. and it just left me in awe. — Pedro

Erica is a typical teen girl. She sticks up for her boyfriend, even when she starts to doubt him. She lies to her parents about their relationship, but it all comes out in the end, as all secrets do. Since I teach eighth grade, I felt the need to share this book with my students. I always tell them to not get hooked on one person,to look around, and not become too serious. This book shows exactly what could happen to anyone. — A customer

This is a great book for jr/sr high students. It lets them know about real relationships. All of Marilyn Reynolds' books are great reads for students.  — Sheila

School Library Journal wrote:

Grade 9 and up. This sensitively written problem novel deals with a young woman's struggle to stay true to her own goals and values while trying to save her boyfriend from himself. Erica Arrendondo, 18, is an excellent student who volunteers at the Humane Society, plays volleyball, and desperately wants to be a veterinarian. Her boyfriend is spiraling down a path of self-destruction and pulling her along with him. Topics such as keeping parents unaware of sexual relationships, the trauma of rape, the stress of college applications, the rewards of volunteerism, and the threat of AIDS are all gently interwoven into the main story of the trials of young love. The characters are compelling and the novel itself almost impossible to put down. The writing is superb and the realistic tone sets this book alongside the best of the genre. This fifth entry in the series about students at Hamilton High is an excellent addition to any YA collection.

Midwest Book Review wrote:

Erica pours more and more of her heart and soul into helping boyfriend Danny get his life back on track. But the more she tries to help him, the more she loses sight of her own dreams. It takes a tragic turn of events to show Erica that she can't "save" Danny, and that she is losing herself in the process of trying. Finally, Erica is forced to wonder, "But what about me?" She begins the difficult task of putting her own life back together again. But What About Me? puts real-life problems of acquaintance rape into a candid fictional format that can grab the attention of teen readers the way no amount of simple lecturing can ever do. 


About the Author

Marilyn Reynolds is the author of eleven books of realistic teen fiction: Telling, Shut Up, No More Sad Goodbyes, If You Loved Me, Love Rules, Baby Help, But What About Me?, Beyond Dreams, Too Soon for Jeff Detour for Emmy, and Eddie's Choice all part of the popular and award-winning True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High. Marilyn is also the author of a book for educators, I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers, and a collection of essays, Over 70 and I Don’t Mean MPH. Her newest book is a memoir, 'Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part (2017) available from River Rock Books. She has a variety of published personal essays to her credit, and was nominated for an Emmy for the ABC Afterschool Special teleplay of Too Soon for Jeff.

Ms. Reynolds worked with reluctant learners and teens in crises at a southern California alternative high school for thirty years. She remains actively involved in education through author presentations to middle and high school students ranging from struggling readers to highly motivated writers who are interested in developing work for possible publication.

In the introduction to her book on techniques to help reluctant readers (I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me), Marilyn writes: “Over time I came to realize that the greatest gift I could give  to my students, many of whom would have no formal schooling after they left [high school], was the gift of a reading habit. Silent reading time became the backbone of my program.” She quotes a study in the the Los Angeles Times reporting that the single most significant factor in determining a person’s success in life is whether they read for pleasure.

She published her first novel, Telling, with the encouragement of Gloria Miklowitz, a well-known writer of young adult fiction. Telling deals with molestation, and students at her school became avid readers (and critics) of the manuscript. In the process, “students were developing a critical sense, using literary terms, analyzing character and motivation. And they were paying attention to the specifics of language use.”

Encouraged by the experience, she went on to write a realistic novel about teen pregnancy, Detour for Emmy, followed by nine more titles in the series. She believes that “the essence of sustained silent reading has to do with the increased understanding of one’s self and the world, of enabling the wounded to heal, the isolated to know they are not alone, the bigoted to see the humanity of others.”

Marilyn Reynolds is a passionate advocate of the benefits of writing in addition to reading. She promotes writing through participation in the 916 Ink program, and works with incarcerated youth in the Sacramento area. She engages with teens in a local continuation high school, and through visiting schools as an author. She also presents staff development workshops for educators and is a frequent guest speaker for programs and organizations that serve teens, parents, teachers, and writers.

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