“Girl Sent Away is a sensitive, compulsively readable novel about the enduring devotion of a father and daughter, and the frightening, shadowy world of troubled teens.” - William Landay, author of Defending Jacob
Published: November 4th, 2015
Toby Sedgwick is terrified by his daughter’s increasingly reckless behavior and takes a tough love approach, enrolling Ava in Mount Hope, a wilderness behavioral camp for troubled teens. Ava quickly realizes that the camp is little more than a prison, warehousing and abusing kids for their parents’ money. And after spending a disturbing weekend completing the parent portion of treatment, Toby knows it too.
As Ava desperately searches for a way out of Mount Hope, she is faced with resurfacing memories of a family tragedy. She can no longer suppress the pain of what happened to her mother and sister eight years earlier in Thailand. As father and daughter fight to get back to each other, the truth may irrevocably tear them apart.
With its young heroine and sensitive examination of adolescents in crisis, Girl Sent Away would do well to find a teen audience. - Kirkus Reviews
A harrowing tale of family and adolescence–of the things parents do to keep their children whole and the terrible mistakes they make along the way.- Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street
Asking about the Girl..
Q: Girl Sent Away is about the tough love wilderness camps for troubled teens. What was your research like? What surprised you the most?
A: I’ve had a counseling practice for years, with private clients who’ve struggled with making this decision. I also read everything I could about these programs and interviewed teens who’d been sent away to them. Readers often ask me if the details of the camps are sensationalized for fiction sake. Sadly the depiction of Mount Hope in Girl Sent Away is all too accurate.
Q: How can parents think sending their kids away to one of these programs is ever a good thing?
A: I believe most parents are well-intentioned—though that doesn’t mean they aren’t sometimes misguided. It’s not my intent to play the blame game, I merely want to raise awareness about these controversial places. To really understand adolescent mental health, I felt it was critical to explore both the parent and teen perspectives, which is why the novel is told through two points-of-view—a father and daughter. If young adult readers come away with a greater understanding of their parents’ worries, and adult readers have a better grasp of the sometimes secret, emotional lives of our teenagers, then I’ll feel I’ve made an impact.
Q: Is something being done about these places? What can the average person do to shut them down?
A: Yes! In July 2015, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress aimed at holding residential treatment programs and bootcamps accountable to a set of minimum health and safety standards, including strong anti-discrimination protections for LBGT teens and teens with mental illness. That said, it’s an uphill climb because many of the more notorious programs have a history of disappearing and then reinventing themselves when government or media attention gets too hot. Still anyone passionate about families can commit to de-stigmatizing mental illness. If we talk about it—and really listen to the teens who struggle—as a society we can embrace more empathic alternatives.
Q: How are teens responding to the novel?
A: It’s been exciting to participate in the conversation around adolescent mental health with teens, teachers, and parents. Schools are hosting discussion groups using the novel, and teachers are integrating Girl Sent Away into high school literacy, health, and media literacy curricula. To have others use my story to raise awareness about preventive mental health is truly a privilege.
About the author:
Lynne Griffin is the author of the family-focused novels Girl Sent Away, Sea Escape, and Life Without Summer, as well as the nonfiction titles, Let’s Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Health and Negotiation Generation—Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment. Lynne is a registered nurse and family counselor who teaches family studies at Wheelock College, and is the Social-Emotional Learning Specialist at an independent school in Boston. She teaches fiction writing at GrubStreet, an independent writing center in Boston and facilitates their program for soon-to-be published authors called Launch Lab.
Critics have noted that Lynne’s work is all heart—with “carefully crafted characters that ring heartbreakingly true” (Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW, Life Without Summer), and that as a writer, Lynne tells her stories “with literary grace and a keen sense of human nature” (Carol Cassella, author of Oxygen), with the ability to “pluck the heartstrings” (Entertainment Weekly’s MUST READ LIST, Sea Escape).