Swimming Through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus (Birch House Press, 2015)

When a Social Communications class assignment brings quiet Chase Mitman and popular Evie Cunningham together, it’s a real eye-opener. Haunted and damaged in their own way, they have only shown others what they want them to see–not that they each hold a terrible secret deep inside, or that they have more in common than they’d ever like anyone to realize.

But then it happens. The sweaty palms. The kiss. And something worse . . . and Chase is there to pick up the pieces.

Knowing their relationship comes at a price, Chase’s life collides with Evie’s in the most beautiful and tragic way, until the unthinkable happens. The party. An innocent prank turns ugly. An anonymous note changes everything. And lives at Whitley Prep will never be the same.

Senior year kicks off when the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing a world where hope seems to lie around the corner. She never turns.

“Tough and touching, resilient and raw — Rajdeep Paulus has crafted a story of love and abuse with the deft touch of a master. Swimming Through Clouds is profound, but never preachy. Paulus never allows her characters to be anything less than real and she never averts her pen from the realities that face far too many women and children.” –Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of Havah and The Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker

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