Reviewed by Elise Chen, age 15

The Stepping Off Place by Cameron Kelly Rosenblum

Reid MacGregory can’t imagine her life without her best friend and social anchor, Hattie Darrow. It’s the summer before senior year, and Reid is deeply embedded in Scofield High’s popular crowd, courtesy of Hattie. However, when summer arrives, Hattie heads to her family’s Maine island home, leaving Reid and their friend, Sam, with a plan: to embrace every moment, one party at a time. Just as the senior year seems promising, Reid’s world shatters when she learns of Hattie’s shocking suicide days before her return. Driven by an urgent need to uncover the truth, Reid delves into the mystery, grappling with painful revelations about the person she thought she knew inside out.

When reading this book, I really think the flashbacks actually drag the book down, as there were a little too many back and forths in the book, and it doesn’t really pick up until the end of the story. However, I liked that Cameron Kelly Rosenblum did a great job at characterization, description, and portraying the struggle of teenage years. The discussion on suicide was thought-provoking, forcing me to consider the automatic “but she had everything” reaction we all have any time someone who hides their struggles chooses to take their own life. Reading this book was touching to me as we don’t always know the mental health issues people face and that stigma and fear can stop people from telling the ones they love the most.

3.5 stars of 5 stars

Find this book in our catalog: The Stepping Off Place

Catalog Number: YA FIC ROSENBLUM,C

480 pages