What Happens Next: A Novel

By Colleen Clayton


How can you talk about something you can’t remember?


Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (on the bottom of the pyramid, but still…) a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she finds herself on a ski lift next to hunky local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled. But Dax takes everything from Sid – including a lock of her perfect red curls – and she can’t remember any of it.


Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she could just shake the nightmares, everything will be perfect.


Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.




 Ohioana Book Award Finalist 2013


“Kudos to Clayton for crafting a powerful, moving debut.” (Kirkus, starred review)


“Debut author Clayton doesn’t simplify Sid or her emotions… painfully realistic yet hopeful.” (Publishers Weekly)


“Layering first love over trauma reveals a true struggle between moments of hope and despair that feels realistic for a young survivor, and Sid is a strong-voiced, sympathetic narrator who is easy to root for.” (The Horn Book )


“Girls will see themselves or someone they know in this thought-provoking story as it gets passed from friend to friend.” (School Library Journal)


“This debut author has done a great job of creating a likeable character in Sid while exploring her emotions thoroughly. Teen readers are sure to race through the pages of the
book to find out what happens next.” (Reading Horizons)


“Clayton captures the torturous experience of rape and the grieving period that people have to go through.” (Library Media Connections)


“I absolutely devoured this book, and found myself reading the final pages more and more slowly, trying to put off seeing it end. I haven’t been this in love with a set of characters in maybe forever. Sid’s sassy spunk is as vibrant as her wild hair, and her painful dilemma made all the more real by her struggle to keep it hidden beneath her I-Got-This grit. Corey’s gentle acceptance, sensitivity, and loyalty make him totally swoonworthy. This book is for every girl who thinks she’s got everything under control, for every girl who thinks rape can’t happen to her, and for every girl who thinks she knows how she would respond to the worst. May we all have a bit of Sid in us — smart, strong, spunky, and ultimately aware that we can’t do it all on our own.”

–Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List, Bitter End, and Perfect Escape


“Colleen Clayton’s gutsy characters stuck with me long after I finished reading¬†What Happens Next.”

–Lucy Christopher, author of the Printz Honor book, Stolen


“Real teenagers. Real issues. Real writing. I read What Happens Next in one big swoop. Heartbreaking, but still filled with hope and promise, author Colleen Clayton knows that the past can’t be rewritten, but you can ruin the future by not learning from it.”

–Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of I’ll Be There


“Sad, funny, and true, this book hits all the right notes.”

–Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan



“Mud Fork Holler” (Nonfiction) Ruminate Magazine, 2011; VanderMey Nonfiction Prize (honor)

“Tears of Amber” (poem) Ekphrasis, 2010

“Turtle in Drought” (poem) The Rubbertop Review, 2010

“Angie” (poem) Penguin Review, 2010

“Cosmic Romeo” (poem) Scifaikuest, 2010

“Prayer of a Displaced Soul” (poem) No Fresh Cut Flowers: An Afterlife Anthology

“Vegan, My Ass” (short fiction) Gloom Cupboard, 2010






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