If Only

Listen to Becky Citra
reading Chapter 1 of
If Only


Orca Book Publishers

Pub Date: 
October 2013

$ 12.95

My Books

If Only

Age 12 +

232 pages

“ If only has been nominated for the Shelia Egoff
Childrens Literature Prize ”

The Story

"I should have saved Pam," he whispers. "Now wait a minute," Pop says. "You listen to what I'm going to tell you. You can't be a hero every day. Life doesn't work that way. You can't do it. No one can. That's something you and your dad gotta learn." His eyes lock into Danny's. "That just wasn't your day to be a hero."

Fifteen year old twins Danny and Pam are victims of a vicious assault when they are walking home from school. The trauma threatens to divide the twins until they learn how the power of family and friends can help them survive.


What people are saying about If Only
Although this easily could be a contemporary story, Citra sets it in 1968, lending a bit of nostalgia to the narrative, describing Martin Luther King's assassination, hippies and pot smoking. It's a sensitive tale, offering emotional insight into the two adolescents, their friends and family. An engaging portrait of sibling caught in the blame game.
Kirkus Reviews
  Citra is good at revealing the characters' thoughts and feelings, which ring true. attempted rape, assault, the harm of gossip and thoughtless criticism, the meaning of friendship - all are touched on and effectively portrayed.

Voya 2013-10-01
  Short chapters alternate between Danny's and Pam's perspectives and illustrate with heartbreaking clarity the growing distance between the once close twins. . . The characters' reactions to a highly traumatic experience are realistic without being graphic, and sensitive but in no way sentimentalized. Citra's sparse and direct writing move the action along at a pace that will draw readers in and keep them reading until the novel's emotionally satisfying ending.

Booklist December 1, 2013
  Family relationships are at the heart of this novel. If Only is an entertaining and compelling read. The prose is deft and clean, and the development of the appealing characters unfolds seamlessly.

CM October 4, 2013
Orca Book Publishers
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