Fall 2020

How to Live on the Edge

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

Eighteen-year-old Cayenne barely remembers her mother, who died of breast cancer when Cayenne was four. The women in her family have a history of dying young. Cayenne figures she’ll meet the same fate, so she might as well enjoy life now, engaging in death-defying risks like dodging trains and jumping off cliffs with her boyfriend.

When Cayenne receives a series of video messages her mother made for her before dying, she isn’t sure she wants them. Her aunt Tee has been her true mother figure. But then Aunt Tee tests positive for a BRCA gene mutation—the one that doomed Cayenne’s mom—and decides to get a mastectomy to reduce her chances of developing cancer. As Cayenne helps her aunt prepare for the surgery, she finds herself drawn to her mother’s messages, with their musings on life, love, and perseverance. For the first time, Cayenne starts to question what it truly means to live life to the fullest, even when death might be written into her DNA.

Format Your Price
On pre-order until 08/04/2020
On pre-order until 08/04/2020
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Fiction, Young Adult
Subject Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2020
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 312
Publication Date 2020-08-04
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF023010, YAF022000, YAF018060
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Lexile 710
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, and Reviewed


School Library Journal

“Readers will root for Cayenne despite the many mistakes she makes.”—School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“An engaging tale of vulnerability and control.”—Kirkus Reviews


“[A]n interesting, informative narrative whose focus on the BRCA gene mutation marks it as an important addition to young adult literature.”—Booklist

NoNieqa Ramos

“Burgeoning with questions like Can we love after we’ve lost? and Can we fight fate?, this powerful story answers yes!”—NoNieqa Ramos, author of The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary and The Truth Is

Gaby Triana

“Sarah Lynn Scheerger creates fearless, compassionate, empowered sisters who, in figuring out what kind of women they want to be, love on the edge.”—Gaby Triana, author of Wake the Hollow, Cakespell, and Summer of Yesterday

Mary Rand Hess

“A stirring story filled with heart and soul, and one that will dare you to rethink what it truly means to be brave and alive!”—Mary Rand Hess, New York Times-bestselling author of Solo and Swing

Sherry Shahan

“A headlong page-turner.”—Sherry Shahan, author of Skin and Bones

Catherine Linka

“A gift to young readers.”—Catherine Linka, author of What I Want You to See, A Girl Called Fearless, and A Girl Undone

Jennifer Longo

“Told with humor and truth . . .”—Jennifer Longo, author of Six Feet Over It and Up to this Pointe

Author: Sarah Lynn Scheerger

Sarah Lynn Scheerger is a clinical social worker who works with "at-promise" youth, helping them figure out who they are and who they want to be. She started writing as a convenient excuse to avoid laundry, and admittedly has gotten a little carried away. She writes picture books as well as middle-grade and young adult novels. She lives in southern California with her husband and children. To learn more, check out her website at www.sarahlynnbooks.com.