Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour, This is Me Trying is a profound and tender YA contemporary novel exploring grief, love, and guilt from author Racquel Marie.
Growing up, Bryce, Beatriz, and Santiago were inseparable. But when Santiago moved away before high school, their friendship crumbled. Three years later, Bryce is gone, Beatriz is known as the dead boy’s girlfriend, and Santiago is back.
The last thing Beatriz wants is to reunite with Santiago, who left all her messages unanswered while she drowned alone in grief over Bryce’s death by suicide. Even if she wasn’t angry, Santiago’s attempts to make amends are jeopardizing her plan to keep the world at arm’s length—equal parts protection and punishment—and she swore to never let anyone try that again.
Santiago is surprised to find the once happy-go-lucky Bea is now the gothic town loner, though he’s unsurprised she wants nothing to do with him. But he can’t fix what he broke between them while still hiding what led him to cut her off in the first place, and it’s harder to run from his past when he isn’t states away anymore.
Inevitably drawn back together by circumstance and history, Beatriz and Santiago navigate grief, love, mental illness, forgiveness, and what it means to try to build a future after unfathomable loss.
Praise for This is Me Trying:
"An instant coming-of-age classic. In addition to introducing a memorable cast of characters who transcend the pages they live within, this novel explores grief with a tenderness, humor, and nuance that made me feel achingly young again." —Aaron H. Aceves, author of This Is Why They Hate Us
"Grabbed me from the very first page and didn't let go once, and I never want it to. This book does a beautiful job of taking care of the reader while not shying away from the incredibly raw and real topics of grief, mental health, and healing. Many grief books will break your heart. This one will piece it back together." —National Book Award finalist Sonora Reyes
“An honest, heartfelt story of characters who do exactly as the title suggests: try. These characters try, in the most hopeful sense of the word – to be good friends, to treat each other with kindness, to cope as best they can with unimaginable loss . . . a sincere and tender story of an ensemble cast who must learn to live a world without their dear friend and brother, and who tiptoe their way towards their own new joyful beginnings.” —Julia Drake, author of The Last True Poets of the Sea
“A powerful exploration of grief's arbitrary cruelty, enduring destruction, and bittersweet intimacies. Racquel Marie delivers complex characters and never shies away from their big emotions and terrible, beautiful humanity.” —Jen St. Jude, author of If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come
"Marie blends prosaic high school concerns over college, dances, and relationships with wrenching depictions of adolescents struggling to cope with a traumatic loss to deliver a tender portrayal of reconnecting after grief." —Publishers Weekly
Praise for Racquel Marie:
"You Don't Have a Shot has every ingredient that makes rivals-to-lovers such a great trope, but it's also so much more. It's a story of grief and loss, of legacy, of culture, of holding the things and people that bring us joy close. I don't think anyone will be surprised when I say that Racquel Marie has done it again: this is truly young adult contemporary at its best." —Jonny Garza Villa, author of the Pura Belpré Honor Book Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun
"Full of heart, You Don’t Have a Shot perfectly captures the warmth of chosen family alongside the thrill of a will-they-won’t-they rival romance. This is contemporary YA at its finest." —Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times-best selling author of These Violent Delights
"Ophelia may not have a label for her sexuality, but she definitely gives all the delightful disaster bisexual vibes a reader could hope for as she endearingly bumbles through her identity crisis...Deeply relatable." — NPR, on Ophelia After All
"Marie writes Ophelia and her friends through the hurdles and heartaches of senior spring with charm and insight, giving each character complexity and their varied cultural experiences the space, consideration, and depth they deserve. A feel-good and effortlessly inclusive coming-of-age story that deftly captures the aching tension of queer adolescence." —Kirkus, on Ophelia After All
"Look: The banter in this book alone is enough to develop a deep, life-affirming crush on Ophelia After All. But it is in the deep, loving characterization of Ophelia and her friends that Racquel Marie creates a memorable, boundary-breaking story about identity, friendship, and the messy complications between the two. Utterly remarkable." —Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift
"A sweet and tender ode to love and self-discovery. Racquel Marie's vibrant and insightful prose, and fresh, funny, fearlessly vulnerable characters make for a beautiful debut you won't want to miss. Ophelia After All is utterly lovely." —Courtney Summers, New York Times-bestselling author of Sadie
"Ophelia After All is a marvel—a clever and hilarious coming of age story with a beautifully beating heart. This is the novel you hug to your chest after you read the last page." —Brittany Cavallaro, New York Times-bestselling author of A Study In Charlotte
"Ophelia Rojas is the type of character that leaps off the page and directly into your heart—Ophelia After All is a queer delight through and through." —Leah Johnson, bestselling author of You Should See Me in a Crown