Sunday, August 5, 2012

Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide

Bibliographic Information: Lezine, D. A. & Brent, D.  (2008).  Eight stories up: An adolescent chooses hope over suicide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ISBN:  978-0-19-532557-7

Plot Summary: DeQuincy A. Lezine, Ph. D, was once plagued by thoughts of suicide and depression as a young adult. After several failed attempts to end his life, Lezine was able to find the help he needed to diagnose the root of his troubles and to finally make the right changes. After building a life in suicide prevention, Lezine decided to write this book for teens who may be struggling with the same problems he once faced. Lezine writes this book with a simple and direct narrative and truly attempts to reach out to his main audience of young adults and teens. Lezine breaks this book down into six distinct parts that describe each level of his journey:
Letter to the Reader in Crisis, The Background Story (where and why it began), Inside the Suicidal Mind (understanding what is happening), Getting Help, Recovery, and Finding the Phoenix: Where I Am Today. Lezine also provides a frequently asked questions section, a glossary of relevant terms, and a resource section full off important suicide prevention services and hotlines. Lezine has crafted this book as an open and sincere suicide prevention resource that teens can rely on when they have nowhere else to turn. 

Critical Evaluation: Lezine draws from his own experience to reach across and help a new generation of young adults who are struggling with the same paralyzing and destructive disorder that once plagued his own life. His opening "Letter to the Reader in Crisis" reiterates the fact that suicide is one single choice amongst many in terms of how to deal with the pain of depression. Lezine believes, that like any other big decision, that suicide always deserves a second opinion. For this reason, Lezine believes that it is important to not make brash decisions when under great pain and to always reach out, whether it be to a friend, a mentor, or even to a national suicide prevention hotline (like National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK [8255]). The overall message Lezine wants to impart is this: you owe it to yourself to examine every option before deciding on something as permanent and irreversible as suicide.

Reader’s Annotation:
Suicide is a silent killer that must be studied and discussed in order to be stopped. Suicide is not the only option. 
Information About the Author: DeQuincy Lezine, Ph. D was inspired to write this work due to his own brush with suicide freshman year of college (, 2012). Lezine was fortunate to survive three separate suicide attempts and receive the help he needed to move on. He then began the first Suicide Prevention Action network at Brown University (BSPAN) (, 2012).  Lezine has been a very active advocate of suicide prevention since then (, 2012).

Lezine completed his doctoral training in clinical psychology from UCLA and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester (, 2012). Lezine's research emphasis has been on suicide prevention and continues to advocate for the survivors of suicide through a variety of different suicide prevention techniques (, 2012).


Subgenre: Suicide Prevention
Curriculum Ties: Can tie into a health lesson on suicide prevention and detection.

Booktalking Ideas:

1). How can suicide prevention resources be presented to teens in a non-threatening and helpful manner?
2). How many suicide prevention resources are you familiar with?
3). What suicide prevention resources are offered at your school or work place?

Reading Level/Interest Age: YA

Challenge Issues: Discusses suicide and its effects in detail. I would used the following items to defend this book if it was ever challenged:

1) Refer to Library Bill of Rights, see items: I, II, and III (
2) Refer to San Diego Public Library collection policy - (  Original site: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read/View Statement (
3) Refer to California School Library Association (CSLA), Model School Library Standards - September 2010 ( PDF: (
4) Refer t0 American Association for School, Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner (
5) Contact Office of Intellectual Freedom for any further support, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or
6) Refer to legitimate book reviews, such as: School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and others; found on either Academic Search Premier, Follett's TITLEWAVE, or

Why did you include this book in the titles you selected?:
Suicide is a very serious aspect of teen life that must be discussed and attacked head on in order for it to be stopped. Lezine writes a very sincere book on his own experiences that offer teens a safe haven where they can closely study someone else's experience as well as their own. This book is important in helping teens understand and overcome suicidal tendencies or tragedies.

Reference Page:  (2012).   2010 suicide prevention conference: Featured speakers.  Retrieved August 5, 2012 from

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