"My hands aren't the same hands as before. Even my friends feel different."
Claire Fairchild, 14, has always known music would be her life. So when she has the opportunity to enter a prestigious contest, she goes all in—until she realizes she’s also competing against Juan, a close childhood friend and one of the most talented musicians she knows. It doesn’t help that her thoughts about him are turning romantic.
When Claire and her family receive a devastating blow from Batten disease, her world enters a tailspin. Claire decides her musical goals no longer seem relevant. She can’t reconcile the joy that music would bring to her life while her brothers succumb to an early and ugly death. Her decision puts everything at risk: her friendship with Juan, her parents’ expectations, and her own happiness.
After Claire accompanies a friend on a school newspaper assignment, she meets a centenarian with a unique musical past and only one regret in life. Claire knows something in her life has to change before it’s too late, but she’s not sure she has the courage to take the next step.
About the Author
Linda Vigen Phillips' passion is creating realistic fiction that offers hope to teens and their families who face mental or physical health challenges. Her debut book, Crazy, depicts the struggles of a teenage girl in the 1960' s coming to terms with her mother's bipolar disorder. It earned such accolades in 2015 as lndieFab Book of the Year Finalist, short-list for SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and Honor book for Paterson Prize for Books. Like Crazy, Heart Behind These Hands is a Young Adult verse novel. When her brothers are diagnosed with Batten Disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder that will bring early death, piano-prodigy Clair must decide how to deal with the ticking clock, her own dreams, and the need for a celebration of life. Linda enjoys advocating for better mental health through her involvement with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI}, conducting writing workshops, and spending time with her grandkids. She lives in Charlotte, NC where she and her husband love to sit on the screened porch to watch the grass grow.
"In Behind These Hands, Linda Vigen Phillips’s lyrical language paints a vivid picture of a world colored by a crushing disease. My sister was born with Batten disease, and this story’s emotionally charged moments bear an uncanny resemblance to scenes from my own life. Whether or not you’ve heard of Batten disease, read this book. You’ll discover, along with Phillips’s teenage heroine, how to face the prospect of losing someone you love and still face the day." —Laura King Edwards, author, speaker, and co-founder of Taylor’s Tale, the world’s leading charity focused on eradicating infantile Batten disease
“A beautiful story! Lyrical and poignant. Emotional and heart-grabbing. The love we feel for family and the complications it can bring are all over every page. You’ll have a hard time putting down this novel in verse.” —Skila Brown, author, Caminar