How Far We Go and How Fast

  • Pages:264
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:healing through music, power of music, strong female character, Winnipeg, death
  • Available:09/25/2018
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 12+
  • Lexile:HL750L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Z+
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Sixteen-year-old Jolene, named after the girl in the Dolly Parton song, is from a long line of lowlifes, but at least they're musical lowlifes. Her mother is a tanning-salon manager who believes she can channel her karaoke habit into a professional singing career. Jolene's dad, a failed bass player, has gone back to the family demolition business and lives by the company motto: "We do not build things; we only tear them down." But Jolene and her big brother, Matt, are true musicians, writing songs together that make everything Jo hates about their lives matter less.

When Matt up and leaves in the middle of the night, Jo loses her only friend, her support system and the one person who made her feel cool. As it becomes clear that Matt is never coming back, Jo must use music to navigate her loss.
"A tender story about the love found in an imperfect, working-class family."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Decter's vivid and evocative word choice defines the character of the novel…[She] deftly uses weather and the seasons to create mood as well as an instrument to advance the plot. Highly Recommended."
– CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"Like a truly great song, this book will stay with you long after it's over. A powerful novel about loss and redemption, How Far We Go and How Fast is as real as it gets. And as sad. And, somehow, as funny. Lyrical and subtle, witty and wise, Nora Decter is an exciting new voice in YA literature."
– Patricia McCormick, author of the critically acclaimed SOLD
"Watching Jo gradually learn how to deal with her grief, to go from depressed and isolated to realizing that change is possible, is one of the many joys of Nora Decter's debut novel. Funny, smart, and endlessly empathetic, How Far We Go and How Fast has all the energy of your very first mosh pit. I wish I'd had this book as a teen."
– Alicia Elliott, RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award winner
"This book has a timeless quality that feels shockingly familiar. A must read for anyone who wants to remember the bite and excitement of coming of age."
– Falen Johnson, writer, director and co-host of The Secret Life of Canada podcast
"I really appreciate this book. It's short and intense and will make you cry. Also, it's got a pseudo-psychic dog named Howl for goodness sake! Read it! "
– You Are What You Read blog
"Decter does an excellent job of letting the reader see the world through Jo's eyes, as she deals with her grief and depression…Jo's insight and Decter's prose make the journey both bearable and in the end philosophical."
– Resource Links
"There is an uplifting, cathartic feel to the tale…Decter's spare language will have teens emotionally invested in the protagonist…A good choice where teens are seeking titles with relatable characters and a solid, satisfying conclusion."
– School Library Journal
Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize   | 2019  |  Winner
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection   | 2019  |  Commended