Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


A Novel

Meg Tilly

St. Martin's Griffin




After Hazen Wood kidnaps twelve-year-old Gemma Sullivan, the two embark upon a cross-country journey that tests the limits of Gemma's endurance. In scenes of physical and sexual violence, Hazen tries to destroy the young girl's will. When she does manage to escape he drags her back and threatens to have her arrested for the violent acts he performs. It is only Gemma's resilience and fertile imagination that protects her from the worst of the trauma she suffers. And, in the end, it is the healing power of unconditional love that gives Gemma the courage to speak out against her abuser at last and claim the life she deserves.

Alternating between the voices of Gemma and Hazen Wood, Meg Tilly has brilliantly brought to life powerful and unforgettable characters that will leave you thinking about them long after you turn the last page.



Buddy, my mama's boyfriend, was waiting for me after school. Waiting in his old rusty blue pickup truck. Almost didn't see him. Almost walked right by, on account of nobody ever picking me up at school before. "Hey, Gemma . . ." he called,...


Praise for Gemma

“Tilly achieves moments of raw beauty and genuine fierceness.” —Booklist

“Successfully captures Gemma's wounded voice. The story is told from the point of view of both Gemma and her captor, and Tilly is equally proficient at conjuring up a revolting and consummate villian as she is his innocent victim.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a shocking novel--shockingly convincing, shockingly authentic, shockingly well-written. The narrative moves between the viewpoints of a twelve-year-old girl and her middle-aged kidnapper... Her story is driven by a tough, vernacular prose that cannot fail to touch the reader. Read this book and Gemma will touch you...You'll never forget her.” —John Lawton

“Never had I read a book on this subject that so effectively captures both the psychology of the abusive relationship along with the social systems that work both to help and hinder the victim.” —Susan Sarandon

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly is the author of Singing Songs (Dutton 1994) and Porcupine (Tundra 2007), a children's book. Formerly an accomplished actress, Ms. Tilly is best known for her role as Chloe in The Big Chill and the title role in Agnes of God, for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in 1986, as well as an Oscar nomination. She lives with her family in British Columbia.

Meg Tilly

©Meg Tilly

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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