Emily Martin's debut has been getting some amazing reviews for its pitch-perfect voice and its honest look at the ways that we sometimes find ourselves destroying the things we value the most.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.
As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
"The Year We Fell Apart is a poignant and aching tale of childhood love, loss, and the chances we get to try again. I was holding my breath page after page, hoping upon hope that Harper and Declan would find their way back into each other’s hearts."
--Jaye Robin Brown, author of NO PLACE TO FALL
"In a story about forgiveness and survival, debut author Martin takes on tough issues like the fragility of girls’ reputations and the fear of potentially losing a parent."
"This moving narrative is told through the past and present of a high-school junior. It explores motive and distance in relationships and the effects of sickness on a family. The subject matter should be inescapably miserable, but Martin seamlessly infuses humor, wit and nostalgia, bringing fun into an otherwise sad story."
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for your book? The inspiration for THE YEAR WE FELL APART came from one scene in particular. Without giving away too much, I kept imagining a confrontation between these characters with a long and complicated history. This idea of two broken people trying to negotiate forgiveness took hold of me, and Harper and Declan were born.
Q: Describe your writing process, from idea to final draft. The characters and general premise of TYWFA had been stuck inside my head for a few years before I ever put pen to paper. The first draft came together during National Novel Writing Month, which means it was messy and full of nonsensical ramblings, but this process of getting all my pent up ideas onto the page as fast as possible really helped me discover the heart of my story. Then, with the help of critique partners and beta readers, I spent about a year rewriting and revising (big changes included switching tenses, building my main character's entire backstory, and killing more darlings than I could count).
Q: Tell us about your journey, from finding an agent to publication.My journey to finding an agent started with entering an online writing contest-- Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars. Our fellow 2k16 author, Evelyn Skye, selected my manuscript to mentor for the contest. (In other words, she tore my poor little book to shreds and held my hand while I put the pieces back together. I am eternally grateful.)
When the contest ended, I continued querying and received an offer of representation from the incomparable Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary. After happily accepting, I revised with Lara for another month or so, then went on submission and got an offer from Sara Sargent at Simon Pulse! I am very fortunate to have had such supportive and talented women in my corner during my journey to publication.
Q: Why would someone want to buy your book? Anyone who has ever wanted to go back and fix a part of their past will be able to relate to my MC, Harper. We've all made mistakes, said or done things we regret, and this book is about learning from those mistakes. Most of all, it's about forgiveness--something that doesn't always come easily, especially when the person you have to forgive is yourself.
Q: What are your favorite books? What are you reading now? My favorite books change all the time, depending on my mood. That said, a YA I re-read at least once a year is Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. And right now I'm super lucky, because I get to read boatloads of 2016 ARCs! Next up is one I'm really excited for: A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro.