When Hurting Feels Good: Self-Mutilation, a Growing Teenage Disorder

Self-mutilation, also called self-injury, self-harm, self-abuse or cutting is a disturbing disorder that is reaching significan proportions worldwide.

Author Shelley Stoehr researched and wrote CROSSES -- the first novel for young adults about this compelling issue -- in 1991. Twelve years later, CROSSES is still a favorite among teenagers and their parents, opening lines of communication in a non-threatening way, and making young people feel less alone. Shelley is available to talk about CROSSES, and about self-injury in general, revealing such things as:

* What types of self-mutilation "cutters" engage in.
* What cases people to start the addiction of cutting themselves.
* What symptoms or behaviors would cutters exhibit that parents or friends could recognize as potential problems.

Among its other awards, CROSSES has been an ALA Best Book and a YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. School Library Journal said of CROSSES: "Reminiscent of Go Ask Alice, the powerful portrayal of Nancy and Katie will be read again and again by today's teens." Publisher's Weekly reported that "this morbidly compelling chronicle of promising lives gone astray commands attention throughout," and the Voice Literary Supplement said that "[Nancy's] mind is a familiar world, unpleasant to dwell in and hard to leave."

Comments from readers include:

"I've never had a book have such a strong impact on my life before... I definitely plan on reading it again and again." (Ashley Smith, Phoenix, AZ)

"[CROSSES] opens your eyes to many different harsh, and painful parts of a teens life." (S.B., Utah)

"This story is a real life thing. Many people, including myself at one time in my life, can truly relate to this book." (a 30 year old self-mutilator of 14 years)

There are more than 2 million people who injure themselves in secret.

Availability: Connecticut, and nationwide by arrangement and via telephone. Available for last minute interviews.

Contact: Shelley Stoehr, mermaidshel@​earthlink.net


Crosses, by Shelley Stoehr

Nancy and Katie are best friends with one big thing in common -- they both cut themselves, “Not by accident, we do it purposely -- and regularly -- because physical pain is comforting, and because now it has become a habit.” Crosses was the first novel for young adults to deal with an increasingly widespread disorder, and “...graphically describes the cry for help of many adolescents and how far they have to fall before they are even noticed.” (VOYA) *An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
*An ALA Quick Pick *An ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Young Readers

Selected Works

MG fiction: Izzy and bff Seven (whose name was supposed to have been “Steven”, but the “t” was left off his birth certificate) set out to rescue a dog, Bone, from its abusive owner. Although they fail repeatedly, they cannot stop trying – though Izzy wonders why not. What's so important that they have to risk "life and limb" to save this dog? But then Izzy learns a truth about Seven, a reality that is so horrible, she realizes it isn’t only Bone who needs saving – it is Seven.
Young Adult Fiction
A dangerous secret… Sixteen-year-old Kyra is odd. She can “mind-speak” with her adoptive father. She has no recollection of anything about her life before age ten. One leg is so badly damaged she has to walk with a brace. And all she wants in her junior year of high school is to be cool. Instead, she becomes a werewolf… Suddenly, a madman is hunting Kyra with plans to use her as his lab rat. A big grey werewolf is killing humans in her town. And worse, her adoptive father might be dating her biological mother. Torn among allegiances to her father, her newly discovered family, and the werewolf pack, Kyra must learn to control the beast within and find a way to stop the madman who threatens to destroy them all. A horrifying act… Selene is a beautiful, tough punk-rocker leader of the meanest gang in school—and a werewolf through and through. She is on the top of the world and plans to stay there. Then Selene kills a human and unleashes a murderous rage that threatens to turn her into a mindless, violent beast. Terrified of what she might become, Selene runs away. Now, far from home in the company of killer werewolves, Selene must run again. She must find a way to regain her humanity. And she must do it quickly, because someone is following her…
Nancy and Katie are best friends with one big thing in common -- they both cut themselves, “Not by accident, we do it purposely -- and regularly -- because physical pain is comforting, and because now it has become a habit.”
When sixteen-year-old Tracey runs away she finds that making ends meet in New York City for a young girl with few real skills is nearly impossible.
“I’ve discovered that if you wear a big enough hat, no one worries much about what’s going on inside your head,” says Cary. And no one, not even her boyfriend, Danny, knows about the things inside Cary’s head. Especially the feelings she has for Wendy, a girl with bright green hair and hard-candy sadness in her eyes.

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