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The Ethan I Was Before

Toronto Star Bestseller
   Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Carnegie Medal Longlist Title
Goodreads Choice Award Semifinalist
Recipient of the North Carolina Young People's Literature Award
Indie Next Pick
Indie Introduce Pick
A Bank Street Best Book of the Year
A Children's Book Review Best Book of the Year
A SIBA Okra Pick
Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee
Southern Book Prize Longlist Title


Praise for The Ethan I Was Before

"Debut author Standish boldly tackles themes of death, guilt, and forgiveness in this tender coming-of-age story." 

- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

"A moving debut. an uplifting book that explores the way grief evolves through the power of remembrance."


"Standish skillfully weaves the events and characters into the fabric of a story that it is emotionally charged. A great addition to middle grade collections."


"A deft balance between storytelling and accessible reflection."


"Beautifully told--part mystery, part adventure, and totally heartwarming. I couldn't put it down."

- HAN NOLAN, award-winning author of Dancing on the Edge

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Life can be transformed in one moment.
But does that one moment define you for life?


Ethan was always up for a laugh, always willing to accept a dare, always ready for a baseball game with his big brother, Roddie, or an adventure with his best friend, Kacey.


Ethan’s family is escaping Boston for the small town of Palm Knot, Georgia. But Ethan’s not sure he’ll ever escape the memories of the accident that cost him everything.
When Ethan meets Coralee, a girl with a big personality and even bigger stories, he starts to wonder if it’s possible to become the boy he used to be again. But Ethan soon discovers that he’s not the only one with secrets, and Coralee’s are catching up with her. And what she’s hiding just might be putting both their lives in danger…

Ali Standish’s captivating debut is a stirring tale of friendship, forgiveness, and ultimately hope.

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