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The Smart Girl

May 1st, 2012 by Carrie Gleason

crush candy corpse

Vampires? Werewolves? Historical fiction? Romance? Mean girls and their cliques?

There are so very many options out there for girls. We all know the well-documented bestsellers (are your girls Team Edward or Team Jacob?). Engaging a girl reluctant reader with a blockbuster novel does work for some girls, some of the time. But for many, popularity isn't a good enough hook to get them reading…especially when there’s a movie to watch instead.

We want girls, and boys, to read more; we also aim to publish books that help explore issues and initiate dialogue. Alzheimer’s Disease is an illness on the rise, one most of us, and them, will have to deal with, and the thorny issue of euthanasia is always heated. Adults themselves cannot decide where they stand. We continue to debate and we feel this book will encourage healthy dialogue on both fronts.

New this spring for girls ages 12 and up, we present award-winning Sylvia McNicoll and her new novel Crush. Candy. Corpse. On the surface, it can be read as a story about a love triangle between main character Sunny (with all her typical ‘teen-ness’ intact), her current boyfriend, and the new, nerdy boy (he's so not-her-type). The setting for the story is a courtroom where Sunny stands trial for manslaughter; the trial is interspersed with flashbacks to the seniors’ home where she volunteered the year before. Sunny is a convincing character whose version of the events leading to the death of one of the home's residents the reader will want to believe — that is, until she learns how other characters interpreted Sunny’s actions, raising doubt.

At the heart of the novel is the big, moral issue of euthanasia. Cleverly set up by the author, this issue is left unresolved in the story, making the book a great vehicle for initiating debate — right or wrong, it's up to the reader to pass their own judgement on Sunny.

We’ve offered specials on classroom sets in the past; typically these have been series, but we feel strongly that Crush. Candy. Corpse. offers an excellent opportunity to promote discussion of important issues while being, quite simply, a great read.

If interested in discussing the idea further please contact Brad Kalbfleisch at


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