Kelsey Sutton, winner of a Best Teen Book Award from Kirkus, pens a suspenseful, heartfelt young adult novel, perfect for the readership of Rachel Ward and Kimberly Derting.

Seventeen-year-old Ivy Erickson has one month, twenty-seven days, four hours, fifty-nine minutes, and two seconds to live. Thoughtful and brooding, Ivy has been harboring a secret her entire life—she can see countdown clocks over everyone’s heads, watching their life grow closer and closer to the end with each passing second. She can’t do anything about anyone else’s clock, nor can she do anything about her own, approaching a zero hour before she even graduates high school. A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy tries to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister escape the realities of trailer park life. And she struggles to discover who murdered her best friend, another life she couldn’t save. Vanessa Donovan was murdered in the woods, and everyone in town believes it is Ivy who did it. In what time she has left, Ivy must put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa’s.

Kelsey Sutton is a talented writer who uses her incredible imagination to weave powerful stories that examine and embrace humanities fascination with the concepts of life and death. She’s able to create formidable imagery that forces us to define what life means to us and to look for the beauty in even the darkest of places.

 In Gardenia, Sutton gives us strong and realistic characters we can emphasize with, particularly Ivy. Her emotions are so raw and open you can’t help but feel like you’re right next to her in the car of this emotional rollercoaster. Her character development is so thorough you’ll feel captivated by the thrilling suspense and explosive scenes they get into which keep the story’s pace from slowing down. The relationships crafted provided an additional depth to help bring out the beauty in the idea of living life full of passion. It was nice to see the love between family take center stage in a YA novel versus the standard dating stuff.

 This is such a unique plot with plenty of intrigue entwined throughout to keep you glued to the pages all the way to the end. Even though there are some deep concepts that could have you ruminating on life and death for hours, the mystery part is far more interesting and compelling.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Diversion Publishing for allowing me to review this book.

 Buy at Amazon:

*synopsis and pic from

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