Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Tag Archives: young adult author

Everything’s Not Fine is a Kirkus 2020 Best of…


I’m beyond honored to share that my Contemporary Young Adult novel Everything’s Not Fine was nominated as a Kirkus YA Best Books of 2020 About Finding Inner Strength.

For most of my formative years, I lived in small Wisconsin towns; these places helped shape me into who I am today. Growing up, I never read a book set in Wisconsin, let alone small-town Wisconsin. That’s a big part of why I chose to set Everything’s Not Fine in Sparta, Wisconsin, and it’s amazing to see it featured on such a highly-regarded list.

I’m a young adult author (my debut was All the Walls of Belfast), but I have also been a school psychologist working in the schools for the past twelve years.

One of my professional areas of focus is around bolstering resilience in children who have experienced trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences. The biggest thing I see impacting children are things happening in their world beyond their control, and one of the most life-impacting Adverse Childhood Experiences is parental substance-use addiction. More than 20 million Americans are battling substance-use addiction. For those suffering, addiction becomes like a car with no brakes, and their children are trapped inside with them.

Everything’s Not Fine centers around a teenage girl trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of her mother’s heroin overdose. I wanted to explore how she struggles to help put her family’s life back together while also making sense of her mom’s choices and their relationship. At its core, Everything’s Not Fine is about a girl discovering her own resilience and the healing power of admitting to those she grows to trust that everything isn’t fine.

Recent statistics suggest that 58% of older teens have experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience, and many have experienced more than one. I wrote this book for them.

EVERYTHING’S NOT FINE is officially out in the world


Out now FB

My second young adult novel Everything’s Not Fine is out today.

I started this novel over five years ago while feeling homesick living in Singapore. It’s gone through a lot of growing pains since I first started writing it, cutting an entire point-of-view character, cutting an entire storyline, and re-writing the remaining storyline from the ground up. I still cannot believe it’s now a published book.

Ultimately it’s a story about discovering resilience in the face of things you can’t control.

Here’s the back copy, in case you’re curious:

back cover

You can now buy it on, IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository and many other places. You can alsobuy direct from my publisher and get a discount and instant shipping.

Because of COVID-19, I’m doing my book launch tonight virtually on Instagram Live at 8 PM CST with USA Today best-selling young adult author Kelly Anne Blount. I’ll be giving away a signed copy and some book swag. Join us if you can.

Everything's not fine launch

ALL THE WALLS OF BELFAST is nominated for an award



I’m beyond honored to announce that All the Walls of Belfast is a finalist for the National Readers Choice Award!

This is the first award either of my books has been up to win. Unfortunately, due to COVID there won’t be an in-person awards ceremony, but it’s so exciting to see the story I dreamed up after a trip to Belfast, my first book baby, be nominated for a national award.