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Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.
Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved....
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Want to know how I learned I had PTSD--and managed to write a book about it without knowing it? There's also more about it below in The Story Behind Miracle.
"Megan goes from being an ordinary teenager at soccer camp one day to a living miracle the next--with all the heavy baggage that comes with it.
When Megan emerges from the embers of a plane crash with barely a scratch, she is hailed a miracle. However, when Megan returns to her small, rural hometown, she feels overwhelmed by both the onslaught of well-wishers and the slowly returning memories of the crash and its victims. Megan is most challenged by her parents, who are unable to see beyond her miraculous escape and fail to recognize that she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and seriously needs help. Finding solace in strange places, Megan befriends her attractive playboy neighbor, Joe, who carries his own baggage, and a woman from her local church who is a Vietnam veteran. These two relationships enable Megan to see that she is not the only one carrying a tremendous burden and that she need not carry it alone. In addition to Megan’s PTSD, this text tackles tough topics including homophobia, complicated family dynamics, alcoholism and death without flinching or sugarcoating.
Told through the perspective of a well-defined and likable protagonist, this text shines a bright light on the importance of mental health." -- Kirkus"This story of a girl who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after surviving a plane crash that kills everyone else on board opened our eyes to how sometimes well-intentioned people can try to help you by telling you EVERYTHING'S fine, YOU are fine, when deep down you know you're not. And it captures perfectly the way sometimes you wish people could see the REAL you--not all the family, activities, and "stuff" that surrounds you." -- Justine Magazine, April/May 2012
"Megan awakens to find the world around her on fire. Not knowing where she is or how she got there, but somehow knowing that she mustn’t look back, she stumbles forward through the woods. Awakening again, she finds herself in a hospital, being heralded by all as a miracle for having been the sole survivor of a plane crash. As the weeks progress, she is treated like glass by her parents, her teachers, and her friends, but she feels disoriented and unreal, and she gradually becomes more and more depressed. The only person who seems to understand that something might be seriously wrong is Margaret, a grumpy old lady from her church who served in Vietnam, and whose life partner, Rose, had suffered from post-traumatic stress following the war. Indeed, though PTSD is never mentioned in the book, Megan’s responses are a detailed map of that disorder as she suffers nightmares, sleeplessness, depression, emotional numbness, an inability to connect with former friends, fractured memories, and hallucinations of the people who were with her in the crash. While her parents go overboard trying to pretend that she is perfectly fine, she finds solace in spending time with Margaret and with Joe, the beautiful bad boy next door who has his own traumatic memories to cope with. Although the circumstances of Megan’s trauma are narrow and specific, the implications of the psychological aftermath have broad applicability; the carefully drawn portrait of her symptoms effectively demonstrates the emotional toll that traumatic situations exact on survivors and the need for a response that goes beyond labels like 'miracle.'" -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Recommended Title
"A small aircraft crashes and explodes into flame, and four of the five passengers are killed. The fifth, a teenage girl named Megan, is lauded as a miracle when she survives with minor injuries. But Megan knows that she has not escaped injury from the crash, which she cannot even remember. She is unable to connect with her old life—her friends, her family, her passion for soccer. Mournful ghosts of the four dead passengers follow her everywhere, and as memories of the crash surface, Megan's agitation becomes unbearable. Scott crafts a realistic portrait of a teen suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. But help (and romance) comes from a surprising place. Fans of stories about teens who overcome emotional damage, such as E. R. Frank's Wrecked (2005) or Jennifer Brown's Hate List (2009), will immerse themselves in the finely told tale of unimaginable tragedy". -- Booklist
"When Megan walks away from a plane crash--the sole survivor of the small craft's explosive landing in the forest--she is labeled a miracle by her family, friends, and small town. But Megan, a high school senior, doesn’t feel like a miracle; in fact, she doesn’t feel much of anything. She goes through the motions of her life and pulls back from everyone, unable to remember the details of the crash yet haunted by them--sometimes literally, as when she "sees" fellow passengers at school and home. Scott (Living Dead Girl) offers a remarkable portrait of the isolation and struggle of post-traumatic stress disorder, and Megan's narration consistently reflects the hollow emptiness she feels as she burrows deeper into herself. Margaret, an older woman who goes to Megan’s church and served in Vietnam, is the first to see that all is not right with Megan, and Megan almost feels like herself when she’s with her gorgeous neighbor Joe. Megan’s final catharsis is powerful if graphic. A painful story of being changed, but not destroyed, by a trauma."-- Publishers Weekly
The Story behind Miracle: This is an intensely personal book for me, although I didn't realize it when I wrote it. I heavily researched PTSD, reading everything I could get my hands on, including anything having to do with PTSD in teenagers. The kicker: I have, when I wrote this book, and still have, PTSD. It's only in the past year (2011), with the help of a therapist, that I've come to realize this.
What I see now is that a lot of Megan's actions, especially her panic attacks, are based on panic attacks that I actually had. At the time, I thought hey, I'm panic prone and this is helpful!! I was like Megan, lost in cloud of doubt and anxiety and overwhelming terror. (Unlike Megan, I wasn't able to even start to process what was going on for years)
So I'm really proud of Megan for being so much smarter and stronger than I was and I have come to love her, her family, Joe, and Margaret (especially Margaret!) more than I thought possible. I hope you like Megan's story.
And a huge, huge Thank You! to Jay Asher for taking time out of his crazy busy schedule to read the book, and to then write something so wonderful. I still remember reading what he wrote and saying, "JAY ASHER! And he likes my book!" (And then there may have been lots more happy yelping. Okay, there was.)
High-res cover here