Wild Ground
Random House

Wild Ground


A story of first love that will break your heart, this bittersweet debut novel follows two teenagers whose all-consuming relationship is tested by the forces of class, prejudice, and addiction.

There were parts that were bliss, there were parts that were full and faultless and laden with joy. The way everything Danny and I did, everything we felt, we did, we felt together. The way we loved and loved and loved each other.

As a child, it was always Neef and her mother, Chrissy—troubled, beautiful, at the mercy of addiction and a revolving door of bad boyfriends. When Neef turns twelve, it is Neef and Chrissy and Barry, the much-older man who moves them from their derelict council estate in Leeds to a small Yorkshire town where he runs the local pub. On her first day in her new home, it becomes Neef and Danny, the boy who captures her attention planting flowers in the pub garden—and then, it is somehow always Danny.

Danny has already been marked as an outcast; half-Jamaican, he and his father are the only people of color in their community. Immediately drawn to each other, Neef and Danny form a friendship that gives way to the slow burn of romance as they grow up. Desperate to escape the confines of their world, Neef and Danny cling to each other throughout their adolescence, even as their relationship strains against the same forces that hold their families hostage: substance abuse, poverty, racism. For a while, though, it seems like it could be Neef and Danny forever.

But then, finally, it is just Neef. Sober, living in London, trying to tell herself she never knew a boy called Danny, never loved him, never had him wrenched away from her. That is, until someone from those days comes seeking redemption, and she cannot pretend any longer.

Braiding together past and present, Wild Ground introduces us to a young woman both coming of age and coming to terms with herself. This tender and moving debut, at once heartbreaking and hopeful, is an aching love story impossible to forget.

Author: Emily Usher.
ISBN: 9780593731291
Hardcover: 432 pages.
Size: 8.5" x 5.8" x 1.3"