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About The Book

From the author of Girl, Boy, and Paranoid Park comes a new novel about the obsessive vortex of falling in love in an impossible time and place.

The summer I was seventeen I met this girl…

Nick has the best of moms and the worst of moms. On the upside, she’s a distinguished professor and bestselling author. On the downside, she’s a serious alcoholic, with no clue how to relate to her son or husband.

Nick, meanwhile, has finished his junior year and needs a break from his stressful home life. What better place to spend the summer than Seaside, Oregon, a sleepy beach town where he can chill out, meet girls, and work at his Uncle’s car wash.

Enter local legend, Phoebe Garnet. She’s funny, sexy, but dangerously self-destructive. Suddenly Nick is more in love, more obsessed, more heartsick than he’s ever been in his life.

Why does Nick love her so much? Will he survive this obsession? And who can he turn to for help?

From the author of the classic novels Girl and Paranoid Park comes a story of the joy, the pain, and the madness of growing up.

About The Author

Blake Nelson is the author of many young adult novels, including Recovery Road (now a TV series), the coming-of-age classic Girl, Boy, Phoebe Will Destroy You, and Paranoid Park, which was made into a film by Gus Van Sant. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (June 19, 2018)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481488181
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99
  • Lexile ® HL610L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

Another insightful revelation of a teenage boy living a not-so-wonderful life. Nick is 17, smart, funny, cute, and mostly carefree. It is the summer before his senior year of high school. He has everything going for him, except for his alcoholic mother who has turned everyone’s life upside-down and is home from a three-month stint at a resort-style rehab. Nick goes to live in the nearby town of Seaside with his aunt, uncle, and cousins for the summer to get away from his home situation and come to grips with the life he has now. Nelson writes with emotion and understanding. The characters are real and poignant. From the title, teens will anticipate that Phoebe is bad news, but they will feel for Nick when he falls in love and has his heart ripped from his chest. Nelson writes about the high school boy with honesty: feeling love for the first time and describing the intensity of the joy and the ache with authenticity. Sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, and language are part of the story, which makes it even more appealing for its target audience. VERDICT A first buy for all libraries serving teens.

– School Library Journal, April 1, 2018

"Another insightful revelation of a teenage boy living a not-so-wonderful life . . . Nelson writes with emotion and understanding. The characters are real and poignant."

– School Library Journal

Things have been tense at 17-year-old Nick’s home since his alcoholic mother, a renowned college professor, has returned from rehab. So, Nick is relieved when his father arranges for him to go away for the summer, even if it’s only to a “hick” beach town to stay with his aunt, uncle, and cousins, which couldn’t be more different from the college town of Eugene, Ore., where Nick was raised. It doesn’t take long, though, for him to settle into his job at his uncle’s car wash and start partying with some of the locals. After he becomes attracted to Phoebe, a slightly older girl who carries an aura of mystery, his interest turns to obsession, and Nick finds himself on a slippery slope, holding fast to romantic fantasies that can never come true. With a cinematographer’s eye, Nelson (Recovery Road) captures the essence of small-town life, as well as the various forms of escape people use to forget their desperation. Nick’s inner transformations are gradual and realistic, allowing readers to understand how significantly he has been impacted by his troubled home life and to empathize with his struggle to navigate overwhelming emotions.

– Publishers Weekly, April 16, 2018

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