© 2019 by Ali Standish

The Ethan I Was Before

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.

Cover Art by Matt Saunders.

You can see more of his work here.

A SIBA Okra Pick

Indie Introduce Pick

Indie Next Pick

Goodreads Choice Award Semifinalist

Carnegie Medal Longlist Title

Southern Book Prize Longlist Title

A Bank Street Best Book of the Year

A Children's Book Review Best Book of the Year

Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee

Recipient of the North Carolina Young People's Literature Award

"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."

-ALA Booklist


"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."

-School Library Journal


"A deft balance between storytelling and accessible reflection."

-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


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

-Han Nolan, National Book Award-winning author of Dancing on the Edge.

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