Catherine Ryan Hyde Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 25 published and forthcoming books, including the bestselling When I found You, Pay It Forward, Don't Let Me Go, and Take Me With You.


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The Day I Killed James

The Day I Killed James was published in hardcover by Knopf in the Spring of 2008. The trade paperback edition was released in October 2010. Like Chloe, it's another one of my young adult novels that crosses over easily to adult readers.

In my own words: 

18-year-old Teresa knows that her 22-year-old neighbor, James, is in love with her. It's sort of a given. Has been for years. She doesn't mean him any harm, but she doesn't return the feelings. She just lets him hang around. To a point.

Until the night she breaks James's heart. It's not malicious. But it's definitely careless. So when James gets on his motorcycle in the dark, speeds up the Big Sur coast and drives off a cliff near Ragged Point, she feels responsible. As responsible as she would feel if she had aimed a gun at his head and pulled the trigger.

She shaves her head, "leaves herself," and moves up the coast. But she just can't seem to get away from her past. Or herself.

Good thing the Universe has a plan (in the form of a tough 11-year-old girl who latches onto her and won't let go) to show her the way to walk through it all.

What the Reviewers had to say:

VOYA called it "starkly told" and "emotionally honest."

Kliatt called it "both raw and witty."

And Kirkus Reviews said, "Journal entries and brief chapters keep readers engaged...the quiet, powerful admonition permeates this novel: Be careful with other people's hearts. Teens who have experienced crushing rejection or who have laughed at the ardent feelings of a classmate will devour this original, gripping story."