A New YA Novel published with Green Writers Press, July 24, 2018!

One warm May night at the town reservoir, seventeen-year-old Leda Keogh sees her boyfriend do something awful. She wants to forget it ever happened, but David needs her to be his alibi—and is willing to destroy her family if she refuses. Trapped, Leda must choose between the truth, her boyfriend, and her family.

Jonathan Tanner-Eales feels like an outsider. He’s gay, and life in rural Vermont hasn’t been as idyllic as he hoped it would be. When Jonathan and his boyfriend, Ricky, are attacked during a night swim, Jonathan manages to escape, but must watch, helpless, as Ricky is beaten. Jonathan, plagued by trauma and fear, wrestles with anger and shame in the aftermath of the crime.

That summer, Leda and Jonathan are swept together by chance, and both must reckon with fundamental questions of loyalty and courage. What does it mean to speak the truth when a lie protects the ones you love? Will Leda put the fate of her family and her boyfriend first, or can Jonathan persuade her to tell the truth?

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Kirkus “A mindful dissection of how allied strength can combat hate.” (discussion guide, resources) (Fiction. 12-18)

Wrote Podcast Review

“The author isn’t afraid to make Leda weak and scared, but she also gives her a backbone which she finds away from her revolting boyfriend, making her see how badly he had treated her, and how badly she has behaved as a result.”

Seven Days VT  “message is a timely reminder that good intentions aren’t enough to stop bad actors.”

Spectrum Culture “She brings careful, precise and bighearted writing to a devastating and painful topic that she understands professionally and academically as well as humanely. It is a hopeful book but also an honest one, a book that shows the awful things that happen between humans but also they ways in which we can help one another heal.”

GWP author Sarah Ward’s debut YA novel, Aesop Lake, received a glowing review by Amanda Caverzasi in the Society of Children’s Book Writes and Illustrators magazine in Illinois, Prairie Wind:
“. . . In Aesop Lake, Vermont based writer Sarah Ward looks at bullying, sexual assault, and gay rights through Aesop’s Fables. Taking care to avoid preaching, Ward makes morality something to be talked about. . . . the story of Leda Keogh, who witnesses a violent hate crime against two of her classmates, a gay couple. Alternating between Leda’s perspective and Jonathan’s, one of the victims of the hate crime, Ward’s story explores what it takes to find courage and speak the truth. . . . Using fables that don’t preach ensures that Ward doesn’t alienate her readers, but rather invites them in. . .  while we expect Leda to change from the opening of her novel, Ward still manages to keep us turning the pages, eager to see how Leda’s story will end. This is a testimony to Ward’s superb pacing and ability to sustain the tension for the 204 pages of her book.”