Dead Se­ri­ous

Break­ing the Cy­cle of Teen Sui­cide

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Young Adult Books / Nonfiction - MELISSA WUSKE

Jane Mer­sky Leder, Jane Mer­sky Leder (JAN­UARY) Soft­cover $17.99 (210pp), 978-1-946229-53-3

This up­dated edi­tion is as fresh as it is ur­gently needed—a life-giv­ing, es­sen­tial re­source.

The sec­ond edi­tion of Dead Se­ri­ous: Break­ing the Cy­cle of Teen Sui­cide by Jane Mer­sky Leder is a much-needed book that brings un­der­stand­ing, re­sources, and ul­ti­mately hope to an ur­gent and mis­un­der­stood sub­ject.

The book’s com­pelling, im­por­tant goal is to save the lives of young peo­ple. Leder ex­e­cutes this daunt­ing task with fer­vor and as­sur­ance. She writes from her own grief—she’s lost her brother to sui­cide—but her writ­ing ven­tures far be­yond the per­sonal. She lives out her be­lief that si­lence isn’t the an­swer; we must talk about the epi­demic of teen sui­cide.

Con­tent of the slim yet com­pre­hen­sive book is bal­anced be­tween in­for­ma­tion and strate­gies, so the au­di­ence is given both the knowl­edge to un­der­stand the prob­lem and the know-how to do some­thing about it. The book of­fers prac­ti­cal tips for deal­ing with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, rec­og­niz­ing warn­ing signs, and break­ing down myths and mis­un­der­stand­ings about sui­cide.

Leder un­packs the emo­tional re­al­i­ties of sui­cide for those who are suf­fer­ing as well as for those who are left be­hind. She as­sures read­ers who are con­sid­er­ing sui­cide that they are not alone; it’s okay to get help. For those who’ve lost loved ones, or whose loved ones are strug­gling, she helps to de­tan­gle de­nial, blame, guilt, and fear.

The voices of teens—through in­ter­views, quotes, and sto­ries—are a high­light of the book. The depth of their pain is vi­tal and mov­ing.

The book is for teens and adults. For teens, it pro­vides meth­ods of seek­ing help, both for them­selves and for their friends. For adults, it of­fers a window into life for to­day’s teens. The most pow­er­ful au­di­ence, though, may be adults and teens read­ing this book to­gether, and us­ing it as a jump­ing-off point to dis­cuss this tough is­sue.

The orig­i­nal edi­tion of the book was pub­lished in 1987. This up­dated edi­tion is as fresh as it is ur­gently needed, given the sky­rock­et­ing num­bers of teen sui­cide, the preva­lence of bul­ly­ing on so­cial me­dia, and the press­ing chal­lenges faced by LGBTQ teens. It is a life­giv­ing, es­sen­tial re­source.

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