Heartfelt and bittersweet, this coming-of age story explores the tender space of healing where grief meets love
A year ago, Gage survived a car accident that killed his best friend, Hunter. Without the person who always brought out the best in him, Gage doesn’t know who he is. He likes working as a fry cook and loves his small-town friends and family, but they weren’t in the wreck and he can’t tell them how much he’s still
hurting. He just wants to forget all his pain and move on.
So when his stepdad shows him a dream job opening in one of his idol’s restaurants, Gage knows this is his chance to convince everyone and himself that he’s fine. To try to push past his grief once and for all, Gage applies for the job, asks out a crush, and volunteers to host a memorial for Hunter.
But the more Gage tries to ignore his grief, the more volatile it becomes.
When his temper finally turns on the people he loves, Gage must decide what real strength is—holding in his grief until it destroys him, or asking for help and revealing his broken heart for all to see.
About the Author
Jessica Kara is the author of Don't Ask If I'm Okay and A Furry Faux Paw, as well as an indie-published fantasy series. She volunteers with her local writing organization, Authors of the Flathead, and is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She currently resides in northwest Montana.
"This poignant, character-driven novel meditates on themes of grief, loss, trauma, masculinity, vulnerability, and healing . . . A tender and honest coming-of-age tale."
"Gage's growth and journey of healing are marked by empathetic and engaging characters and a solid plot that will have readers cheering for Gage and his friends."
"A compassionate, fast-moving novel about grief, shame, and loss."
“Stunning and beautifully written, Don’t Ask If I’m Okay explores the complexities of love, loss, and grief, as we follow one young man on a poignant journey of self-discovery, and ultimately, healing. Vulnerable, real, and relatable, this is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”
—Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
“Wise, gentle, funny, and incisive all at once, this is an absolutely enthralling book that tackles grief, friendship, male vulnerability, and the many unpredictable ways we move on after tragedy. Don't miss this beautiful book, though be sure to have tissues and perhaps some lembas bread on hand while reading.”
—Jamie Pacton, author of The Vermilion Emporium, Lucky Girl, and The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
“Don’t Ask If I’m Okay is a tender story about a teen boy’s struggle with grief and vulnerability. Jessica Kara’s thoughtful, nuanced writing is like a warm hug for the reader as she gently guides them towards a powerful, heartfelt resolution.”
—Tobias Madden, author of Anything But Fine and Take a Bow, Noah Mitchell
“Don't Ask If I'm Okay deftly explores guilt and grief, hope and healing, forgiveness and found family. Evocative and heartbreaking, readers should have a box of tissues nearby!”
—Becky Wallace, author of Far From Normal and Stealing Home