When he was five years old, Creighton's mother left. He and his father know she has started a career as a singer but not much more than that. Dad's work with a carnival means they have not set
When he was five years old, Creighton's mother left. He and his father know she has started a career as a singer but not much more than that. Dad's work with a carnival means they have not set down roots anywhere for long and as a result Creighton does not have a formal education. When they finally settle in a small town, Creighton is 14 years old. When he starts school there he is placed in an alternate school — which it turns out is a place for "losers" — kids who struggle with learning.
Gradually Creighton meets other kids in his new school — like Schooner who can't read but has his own kind of wisdom and Carin who was a victim of sexual assault when she was thirteen. There is one teacher at the school who truly cares about the students and who encourages their hopes for the future. But when she announces she is leaving at the end of the year, the students feel abandoned. School becomes irrelevant and the students are left to fend for themselves. How will they manage to survive in spite of all the personal disasters that challenge them.
View Biographical note
is a teacher and elementary school counsellor who works and lives in Creston BC. A Soft Place to Fall is her first novel
View Review text
"The narrative pacing is slow but purposeful. The memorable characters, all cued as White, are drawn with affection and are scarred, flawed, and fully human. Their needs are great, their expectations modest as they hunger for connection and security. As Ms. Hayworth says, "it's hard to give to others what you haven't received yourself"… This quiet debut with a powerful message leaves readers plenty to ponder."
— Kirkus Reviews
View Promotional headline
Finalist for the 2022 Sheila A Egoff Children's Literature Prize
On the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books For Kids And Teens 2022 list
View Author comments
A Soft Place to Fall is about a troubled group of teens who are trying to find their way in the world despite the many traumas that seem to follow them. As a teacher and school counsellor, the most difficult students are the ones that tug at my heart. They always have a story, that few people notice, because their challenging behaviors dominate.
I've been writing this book in my mind for years, wanting others to look a little more deeply, to find some empathy, and also to give teens hope, that despite a traumatic past, you can be resilient and find your way in the world. Teens (12 +) and adults will relate to the characters in this book and secondary teachers can enjoy using it as a novel study due to its prevalent themes.
If you enjoy my story, I also recommend Stephen Chbosky's, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Creighton, abandoned by his mother, finds himself at an alternate school. Here he meets other teens who, like him, are struggling in life. Fortunately, they have a kind teacher who helps them feel connected. When she leaves to have a baby, they feel abandoned. How will they survive without her?
View Short description/annotation