Novels by Sara Kocek

Promise Me Something CoverReyna didn’t mean to become friends with Olive Barton . . .

But when Olive kept talking after the lunch bell, Reyna didn’t say no, and she didn’t stop Olive when she followed her into the parking lot after school either. Olive is blunt, headstrong, and unapologetically honest—nothing like Reyna’s other friends, or anyone Reyna’s ever met. But as Reyna begins to drift apart from her childhood clique, she finds herself growing closer to Olive.

Then Olive tells Reyna her secret, which changes everything. And as Reyna weighs her choices, she must find the courage to decide what
really matters…before she loses Olive forever.




Praise for Promise Me Something:

“High school as crucible of character is a mainstay of teen fiction, but seldom have its dilemmas and dramas been so precisely re-created in all their brutal, claustrophobic intensity as in this debut: part morality play, part suspense tale…Compelling, honest storytelling.” Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)

“Kocek’s hard-hitting first novel offers smart dialogue, sharp descriptions, and a plot that unfolds in unexpected ways, as she explores the destructive power of casual, everyday homophobia…” Publishers Weekly

Promise Me Something tackles weighty issues of harassment, family dysfunction, suicide, and homophobia within the context of adolescent identity and friendship, while maintaining the focus of the story on characters whose complexity feels real and whose lives may be our own, our next door neighbor’s, or our best friend’s.” -VOYA

“The heavy themes are explored as gently as possible without glossing over uncomfortable situations. All of these elements, including a plot twist, make this book a better-than-average problem novel.”  -School Library Journal

“…the topics of bullying and LGBT teens are well chosen and provide realistic insights into discrimination of gay teens.” – Booklist (Online Review)

What readers are saying:

“Kocek masterfully crafts characters we come to love, admire and fear… It’s a mystery with page-thrilling suspense right to the end. Strong themes of human rights, equality, friendship, bullying and suicide that leave a lasting impression long after the last page has been read.” -Carmen Oliver, Goodreads

“I laughed, cried, got angry – any emotion that is possible for a human being to feel!” -Cee, Goodreads

“Promise Me Something really blew me away. It drops you into the memory of that feeling you get in high school from being buffeted around by the many everyday forces in your life that you can’t control. Even more potently, it captures the way that even when you do theoretically have some control, where some part of you knows what the right thing to do is, you somehow don’t always do it. I have never before seen a portrayal of this moral confusion in a way that rings so true, that is respectful of teenagers’ intelligence and the reality of their struggles while still letting them be their unrefined, not-quite-adult selves.” –Elise,

“This is heartbreaking and beautiful and definitely a book I wish I’d had as a teen. It’s a wonderfully challenging story because we can see all the ugly parts of ourselves in it, how realistically drawn the bystander’s denial and rationalization can be. It reminds us of the truth of popularity and exclusivity and the reasons for succumbing to group-think, all of which lead us away from our better nature…I know the character of Olive will haunt me, because I know there are kids like that out there, who suffer because of the strength of their convictions. Sara Kocek writes her beautifully and deeply realistically, leaving much about Olive in the subtext.” -Yodalover,













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