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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say

A Novel

Leila Sales

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


A novel about public shaming in the internet age, the power of words, the cumulative destructiveness of microaggressions, and the pressing need for empathy.

Before we go any further, I want you to understand this: I am not a good person.

We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things?

When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people know what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.

With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Did she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?

Decide for yourself.


I’m seventeen years old and I have already been famous twice in my life. The first occasion was a dream come true. The second occasion was a nightmare from which I still cannot wake up.

Fame seems from afar like one...

Praise for If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say

*A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year!*
*A Tablet Magazine Best Jewish Children's Book of 2018!*

"Sales (This Song Will Save Your Life) tackles a thoroughly modern problem, and she is careful to stay within the gray, neither condoning Winter’s explanation nor fully embracing the meaningless apology. A nuanced approach to how the internet encourages the dehumanization of users gives this novel its realistic tone and serves as a strong warning to teens (and their parents)"—Publishers Weekly

"This is a sharp, incisive novel about culpability in the digital age. Winter’s not quite the villain the world thinks, but neither is she entirely innocent. For teens especially, this will offer valuable perspective on the effect words can have."—Booklist

"A thoughtful, compulsively readable story of a twenty-first century teen's worst nightmare come true." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review

[A] thoughtful coming-of-age story that underlines the power of empathy, community, and believing in one’s own capacity for positive change." —The Horn Book

"Inspired by a true story, this is a very thought-provoking, well written young adult novel that brings up a lot of important and timely issues without offering pat, superficial solutions." —The Association of Jewish Libraries


Reviews from Goodreads

Leila Sales

Leila Sales is the author of the young adult novels Tonight the Streets Are Ours, This Song Will Save Your Life, Mostly Good Girls, and Past Perfect, as well as Once Was a Time, for younger readers.

This Song Will Save Your Life
garnered two starred reviews, was included on the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list, was named one of Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year, and was listed as one of the Best YA Books of the year by It has been published in twelve foreign territories.

Leila grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. When she's not writing, she spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, chocolate, and how to get more of all of them. Leila lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in children’s book publishing.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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