When You Reach Me meets Starfish in this heartfelt contemporary middle grade about a misfit girl who finds a way to skip all of the hard parts of seventh grade.
J.P. Green has always felt out of step. She doesn’t wear the right clothes, she doesn’t say the right things, and her body…well, she’d rather not talk about it. And 7th grade is shaping up to be the worst year yet: notorious bully Miranda O’Donnell won’t stop offering unsolicited diet advice, her mom keeps trying to turn J.P. into someone she’s not, and her Pop Pop’s lung cancer is back. J.P. wishes she could borrow a gadget from her favorite galactic superhero, Admiral K, and just open a portal and escape for a little while.
So when she discovers that the painted door inside her neighbor’s treehouse actually opens, she doesn’t hesitate before walking through. The door sends her three days forward in time.
At first, it seems like the magic door is exactly the escape hatch J.P. was looking for. She can skip all the worst parts of 7th grade and the only consequence is needing to catch up on some homework. But there’s just so much that J.P. would rather not deal with. Fitness tests in P.E., oral book reports, awkward conversations with her mom…it’s easier to skip them.
But when J.P. starts skipping things she can’t miss, she must decide whether the highs in life are worth the lows and what it means to show up for the people you love—and for yourself—in this moving middle grade novel about mental health, body acceptance, and self-confidence.
Praise for The Things We Miss
“Stecher’s speculative, heartrending debut eloquently portrays the joys and sorrows of being in seventh grade—and the importance of remaining present.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A powerful story about the joy and pain of growing up.” ―Kirkus
“Magical and heartbreaking! You will read this book in one gulp.” ―Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times-bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish
“An emotionally resonant story that deftly blends fantasy and reality. Readers will see themselves in the smart, likable protagonist as she learns to embrace all experiences, even the most challenging.” ―Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You and Unstuck
“Bitter and sweet are two sides of the same coin, and Leah Stecher’s beautiful novel shows us how we can’t have one without the other. When J.P. figures out how to skip the hard parts of middle school and life at home, she learns that avoiding the tough stuff leaves holes that can’t be filled. The Things We Miss is deftly written, full of humor and heartache and so, so much heart. I simply loved it.” ―Tziporah Cohen, author of No Vacancy
“The Things We Miss is for anyone who has ever wanted to run away, hide, and skip the messy, painful parts of life. Stecher’s magical debut is a reminder to be present, even when life’s challenges seem insurmountable. A stunning middle grade novel with memorable characters who take readers on a journey to self love, acceptance, and healing. I loved everything about this story!” –María José Fitzgerald, author of Turtles of the Midnight Moon
“Leah Stecher’s debut novel is a poignant excavation of grief, love, and the messy complications of friendship. Beautifully written and masterfully told, The Things We Miss reminds us that avoiding life comes with a cost, while daring to live with integrity always pays off. No one should miss this gem of a book.” ―Megan E. Freeman, author of Alone
“The Things We Miss is a remarkable book. It has big questions, hard truths, and powerful magic…and it’s also a great story. It is a book that will make you think, a book that will make you feel, a book that will make you cheer, a book that will make you cry, a book that will keep you turning the pages. Do not miss THE THINGS WE MISS.” ―Dan Gemeinhart, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Children
“An enchanting, heartbreaking, and magical look at how the choices we make impact not just how we live, but who we are.” ―Chris Baron, author of The Magical Imperfect and All of Me
“An achingly relatable blend of inexplicable magic and the all-too-real heartbreaks of the everyday world. Complex characters, an engaging storyline, and an authentic dive into the tragedies and triumphs of middle school and family life make this one a must-read.” ―Monica Roe, author of Air