by Marilyn Reynolds

At 15, Lauren Riley promised herself that she would not mess up her life and would stay away from drugs and sex. But two years later, her boyfriend Brandon is pressuring her to forget that promise. Both her parents are lost to her through long-time drug addiction, but through her writing, Lauren tries to deal with her problems and discovers a deeper strength. Based on the reality of everyday high school life, and critiqued by high school students as it was written to ensure its authenticity, this book accurately portrays and confronts the issues of drugs, race, sex, first love, and finding self-expression.

Bulk orders
Teaching guide

Follow the Hamilton High series on Facebook.

ISBN: 978-1-929777-00-6
224 pages

Grade level: 7-10

Reading level: 4.6

Interest level: 7-12

AR: 9.0 IL: UG BL: 4.6

If You Loved Me has also been translated into Chinese (not available through New Wind Publishing).

Reviews:Teen readers wrote:

This book was amazing. I didn't start off with the whole series, I just picked the book of the shelf and it looked great. I loved the whole story line and I loved what she was going through. I never imagined that the book would put such a big twist to it at the end. When I read the end of the book I felt like I knew Lauren. She was going through a part that I went through and I knew exactly what she felt like. All in all this book was probably the best book I've ever read!! — Lindsey H.

i read this book my freshmen year and i truly loved it, i was going through a situation like this and it really helped me see it through a different perspective. — Lucy

Before I read If You Loved Me I had never bothered to check out a book at a library, but now I can’t stop reading. Thank you for changing the way I lived my life. —Maria, Bell Gardens High School

When I began reading my favorite book of all time, If You Loved Me, I was constantly reading it. I read it so much that I finished it fairly quickly and I’m not the best reader. That must mean something!. . .I love to read your books just to calm me down. I also enjoy your books because I can relate to what the character is going through. . .Knowing I’m not the only person going through a hard life, reading helps me connect and get through it.

When I was in middle school (I'm 22 now), I remember reading “If You Love Me...”. That book, YOUR book, is the only novel that brings me back to the time when I fell in love with stories. The way your words flowed, how Lauren and Tyler came off the page, and how your grabbed my attention like a heart-attack. Also, Lauren is interracial like me, which I loved! I couldn’t find books like that as a kid. — A.R.

Booklist wrote:

Having been born drug addicted, to an addict mother, 17-year-old Lauren is determined not to repeat her mother's mistakes. She has promised herself to say no to drugs and sex, but is finding the latter a challenge, as she faces increasing pressure from her longtime boyfriend, Tyler. The resentment she still harbors for her deceased mother and the reappearance of her long-absent father further complicate her life and negatively affect her schoolwork and relationships. Lauren's journey to self-discovery and self-love is filled with pitfalls and also surprising rewards. The seventh title in the series is characteristically informative and insightful, exploring difficult teen issues with honesty and a multifaceted perspective. Reynolds' treatment of youth and their challenges, from sexual abstinence to mixed-race parentage, is compassionate, never condescending; the dialogue, situations, emotions, and behavior of the well-defined teen characters ring true. An engaging, thought-provoking read, recommended for reluctant readers.

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, designing each visit to meet the individual needs of the school. 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.

To request a visit, comment on Marilyn's books, or ask a question, visit Marilyn's web site, or send a message to Marilyn Reynolds below:

Other Books By Marilyn Reynolds