by Kim Firmston

A teenage boy struggles to keep his family together, while his mother's schizophrenia tears them apart.
Dan is a fairly normal fifteen-year-old -- he likes girls (obviously), hates school (ditto), and he lives to play bass guitar. But at home, things aren't normal at all. His mother is schizophrenic, and uses a system of numbers she's developed to determine if something is good or evil. She plasters the walls with pages of obscure calculations and lists of digits, and obsesses over them long into the night -- and her behaviour is only getting more and more erratic. One day, Dan's numbers turn bad, and she begins to threaten him physically. Dan could just run away, but he's worried about what would happen to the nine-year-old brother he's fought so hard to protect. All Dan wants is a normal life, but how can he keep his family together and keep them safe at the same time?

About the Author

KIM FIRMSTON is a writer and creative writing instructor in Calgary, AB. Her short story "Life Before War" was shortlisted for the 2008 CBC Literary Awards.


"Firmston is one of few authors who writes about schizophrenia from a teens point of view. The fear of not knowing is what underlies this story and is what makes this a page-turner. "
Sherry Rampey, VOYA (U.S.)
Rated G - Good, even great at times, generally useful!
The home life [of the main characters is described in all its horrendous detail to make it real for the reader who may not have lived with mental illness.
Patricia Jermey, Resource Links
Kim Firmston has crafted a YA novel that has a simple plot and lots of depth. She brings up many rich and complex themes, such as the tension between home and school life, which makes this book a worthwhile read...viivid and uncompromising. High school teens who like books that have depth and grit will enjoy this book
Highly Recommended.
Mark Mueller, CM: Canadian Review of Materials


Starred Selection - Best Books for Kids & Teens -- Canadian Children's Book Centre

Subjects (BISAC)

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