When You Least Expect It

COMING NOVEMBER 15TH, 2021

How long can Holly keep her secrets?

Avid competitive rower Holly is seventeen. There is nothing she wishes for more than to compete in the Olympics. When she fails to make the rowing team that is going to Europe she is shattered. Her dream has exploded and she is left dealing with the disappointment. She is also confronting a new reality at home: she and her mother have moved in with her mother’s boyfriend and his two sons. And then her mother announces she is pregnant. . . a situation she has been hiding from Holly.

This news is a blow to the close relationship Holly thought she had with her mother. And it provokes her to conceal secretly, taking up training as a single-scull rower with a coach who has his own tragic story. And when Holly starts seeing someone who could become a significant romantic partner, she hides that from her mother as well. How long can you keep secrets like this? This page-turning story is enhanced by fascinating detail of what it means to be a competitive rower — as well as an emotional core that is powerful and compelling.

Reviews

CM Magazine - May 2018

“One of the strengths of “A Time to Run” is the voice. The perspective changes back and forth from Stuart to Sam, and the individual characters speak in very specific, distinct voices. Stuart’s is especially interesting; short, choppy sentences reflect his impulsive nature and give him a childish quality, despite his age of fourteen. Longer, rambling sentences let readers into his jumbled thoughts. The changeover to Sam’s perspective in alternating chapters is smooth but distinct. His chapters show more reflection and successfully display the inner thoughts of a teenage boy who is in the middle of a huge life upheaval.

Everything in the story is believable; the clear and linear plot allows the focus to remain on the characters, and that’s where the real value is in this novel. Nicholson’s characters are familiar and relatable, but rarely stereotypical. Sam’s love interest is an athletic and level-headed girl, and his interest in her isn’t connected to her beauty—in fact, his first description of her describes her as “sweaty”. It’s refreshing to see one fictional character notice another based on personality traits as opposed to appearance.”

Kirkus Reviews - July 2018

“The latest in the author’s One-2-One series (inspired by a real program that matches students with intellectual disabilities with their neurotypical peers), the story of Stuart and Sam’s friendship is sweetly and sensitively told. Both characters are white; Stuart’s adoptive family is black, while Sam’s family immigrated from Bosnia. The book’s best scenes feature the friends together as Stuart strives to make the track-and-field team, and the relationship between the boys is presented authentically.”