The Worst Thing She Ever Did

tumblr_n5mze8Pu7Z1tc2omgo4_500Writing The Worst Thing She Ever Did was a long and difficult process. The topic was challenging and I didn’t know quite how to go about getting the story on the page. I wrestled with it and edited it, rewrote it and started again. Finally, the idea began to be the novel as it reads now and I’m so glad I worked so hard on it because I feel that I’ve told the story I wanted to tell. Although it wasn’t easy, it taught me lots about writing and about rewriting. Rewriting this book, I learned more about writing than I had done in years. Sometimes, you have to look over things to see how to move forward. The idea for the book came to me one day driving the car in Saskatoon. I knew the character and the title. I knew what she had suffered. I knew how it would end. But it took many months of research and rewording before I felt happy with this book. Worth every minute though. As for the title, well, it changed dramatically from the original idea – the book has two titles now!

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From My Publisher

“My New Year’s resolution: I’m moving on from everything that’s happened. I’m not going to talk about it, think about it, let the memory pounce upon me like a waiting tiger, nothing.”

All Sophie wants to do is forget. But it’s not easy now that everything’s changed. The house feels too big, school drags on for too long, lights are too bright, the room spins, and her hands get sweaty for no reason. And she can’t remember why she was ever best friends with Abigail, who is obsessed with parties and boys. Only the new girl, Rosa-Leigh, with her prose poems and utter confidence, might understand. But talking to her seems impossible.

Lost in memories of the life she once had, Sophie retreats into herself. But there’s only so long she can keep everything bottled up inside before she explodes. Maybe by confronting the tragedy of her past she’ll figure out how to fix her future.

Awards and Accolades

  • National Bestseller
  • Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award, Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book
  • 2011 OLA White Pine Official Selection
  • Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year selection for 2011
  • The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens 2011 selection


Interview with Alice Kuipers: On Style, Crime Writing, and the Expansion of Genre (Interview by Meghan Bell)


“Kuipers artfully manages to make Sophie’s tale achingly real and yet still hopeful. Her distinct, first–person voice and quirky details shine through the dark tragedy, giving familiar themes a fresh take.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Kuipers removes from her readers the protective shield of shocking news stories that “happen to other people.” She forces them to really see the innocent lives that are ended or forever altered by the madness of terrorism, and shows her readers the way to compassion, understanding, and action when “the other people” become themselves. This novel is gorgeous, heart-ripping, important.”

“Kuipers draws Sophie, through her narration, as a very young sixteen, making her isolation all the more poignant…. The emotional portraits of Sophie and those around her ring true … Particularly fine is the exploration of grief solidifying rather than loosening its grip, as Sophie, at least for a time, gets worse rather than better…. Touches on a tragedy that hasn’t been featured much in American literature, it’s really a story of the dysfunction that bereavement can knock you into, and that’s a raw emotional situation with which readers will sympathize.”
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Touching and realistic.”
— School Library Journal

“With lyrical prose, Alice Kuipers takes us on a riveting journey in a teen’s mind as the girl learns to confront a recent tragedy so she can start building a future for herself. Subtle glimpses of this tragedy build suspense throughout the story until it reaches a climax almost as powerful for the reader as it is for the young protagonist.”
— Jury Citation, 2011 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile / Crime Book

“Kuipers nails the voice of a mature teen who has been forced to grow up fast but is still fundamentally inexperienced and open to the exuberance of youth…. Her dialogue is sharp and true to life and she understands teens’ thoughts and heightened emotions.”
— Quill & Quire

“For teens who want to lose themselves in a more somber take on tragedy’s after-effects, The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Saskatchewan’s Alice Kuipers offers well-written angst. A British high school student, Sophie, is trying to forget the circumstances of her sister’s death. If only Sophie hadn’t stopped to tie her shoe, she and her sister wouldn’t have been on the tube train that was blown up by terrorists. But she did, and they were, and Sophie survived but her sister was killed. In a year of crumbling relationships and worse grades, Sophie gradually manages to face the past. With its short, sharp sentences, high school friendships and believable adolescent emotion, this is an engaging, thoughtful read.”
— Toronto Star

“…well written angst…with its short, sharp sentences, high school friendships and believable adolescent emotion, this is an engaging, thoughtful read.”

“I personally felt like I was prying into someone’s private life when I started reading into the story. Sophie clearly didn’t want anyone to know her dilemma, and wanted nothing more than to just forget. With her, we learn about how such a tragedy can take a toll on a whole family, and even the friends supporting it. You could literally feel how much Sophie wanted to turn back the tables and have everything be the way it used to. The one thing that really got me in this book was Sophie’s feelings toward her sister. She was so heartbroken by her loss that nothing else mattered to her, not even her own life. It makes you think of what you may possibly be taking for granted. I have two younger sisters, and a little brother, and reading about Sophie’s loss made me weep for her. Towards the end of this book I was bawling my eyes out, and practically hiccuping because I was so gripped by the story. It made me appreciate the family that I have…”
— reader review

©2018 Alice Kuipers | Bestselling YA and Picture Book Author. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
Illustration by Julie Larocque.