April 2017  HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray

April 2017



✩ a 2018 PEN America Los Angeles Literary Award Finalist

✩ a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2017

✩ a Junior Library Guild selection

✩ a Brightly Best Book


Available now, in hardcover, ebook, paperback, and audio

tour & appearance info

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Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table, and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence. Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.

When their dad returns home for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie—on their own in Seattle and beyond. But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she’s tried so hard to keep.

From renowned author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr comes a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home. 

select quotes

★ "With a vivid, well-rounded cast of characters, including the adults, and a poignant portrayal of family dynamics, Zarr’s frank, resonant story is both bittersweet and triumphant." - Booklist, starred review

★ "Zarr movingly explores the effects of neglect on two vulnerable girls relearning how to trust." Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "A poignant, smart family drama with broad appeal." - Kirkus, starred review

"This may be the most powerful sibling story I've ever read. Gem and Dixie's road trip is heartbreaking and honest and beautifully rendered by one of my all-time favorite writers. This is Sara Zarr at her absolute best." Matt de la Peña, Newbery winning author of Last Stop on Market Street

“Packed with Zarr’s sharp-eyed, honest observations of human nature, Gem & Dixie gives us two sisters crushed by the failures of their parents, and asks how bad things need to get before you have to make a change. A road-trip like you’ve never been on before.” Laura Ruby, Michael L. Printz Award-winning author of Bone Gap

“A story that broke my heart and put it back together again. You won’t want to let Gem and Dixie go.” Sarah Dessen, New York Times-bestselling author of Saint Anything

Gem & Dixie is a beautiful, poignant, and ultimately hopeful story from one of the finest YA authors writing today. An exploration of the complicated love and loyalty between sisters that is at once profoundly moving and unflinchingly real.” Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us

“A powerful portrait of instability—familial, financial, and emotional—and a stirring tribute to self-reliance. Zarr’s greatest gift is that she can break your heart with the smallest of details, and patch it back up with her immense empathy.” Aaron Starmer, author of Spontaneous

"A thoughtful work that will resonate with Zarr's many fans and those who appreciate contemplative, character-driven novels." - School Library Journal