Review of The Edge of Anything, by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

The Edge of Anything

by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

Running Press Teens (Hachette), 2020. 362 pages.
Review written December 21, 2020, from a book sent by the publisher
Starred Review
2020 Cybils Finalist
2020 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#7 General Teen Fiction

The Edge of Anything is a friendship story, and a powerful one. Len has never really had friends, except her sister, and now she’s avoiding calls from her sister after something terrible happened. She’s finding herself extra sensitive to dirt and germs, and kids at school think she’s a freak.

But when Sage’s life turns upside-down, Len is the person who sees what she’s going through. Sage faints after a volleyball game, and thinks it was low blood sugar. But it turns out to be something that can keep her from playing sports ever again. Volleyball was her passion and her whole life.

It turns out that Len is dealing with something that’s also huge, but the reader and Sage don’t find out what that is until well into the book. But we do come to understand why Len is better at understanding what Sage is going through than her other friends.

That’s the skeleton of what happens in this book, but the beauty is in the carrying it out as Len and Sage become friends and figure out how to be good friends to each other, when neither one wants to face what’s going on.

This book gives a good look at mental illness as an illness, not something you can shake by being strong.

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