Young Adult

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say

A timely, important novel about public shaming in the internet age, and the power of words.

We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things? What then?

When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people knows what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.

With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Does she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?

A novel about public shaming in the internet age, If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say is also an exploration of the power of words, the damage of microaggressions, and the healing power of empathy.

Select praise

  • “Sales tackles a thoroughly modern problem, and she is careful to stay within the gray, neither condoning Winter’s explanation nor fully embracing the meaningless apology. A nuanced approach to how the internet encourages the dehumanization of users gives this novel its realistic tone and serves as a strong warning to teens (and their parents).”—Publishers Weekly
  • “This is a sharp, incisive novel about culpability in the digital age. Winter’s not quite the villain the world thinks, but neither is she entirely innocent. For teens especially, this will offer valuable perspective on the effect words can have.”—Booklist
  • * “A thoughtful, compulsively readable story of a twenty-first century teen’s worst nightmare come true.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
  • “[A] thoughtful coming-of-age story that underlines the power of empathy, community, and believing in one’s own capacity for positive change.”—The Horn Book
  • “Should be required reading for anyone using social media…. Topical without being preachy, this is a plea for empathy in a world increasingly prone to knee-jerk outrage.”—The Irish Times
  • “A very thought-provoking, well written young adult novel that brings up a lot of important and timely issues without offering pat, superficial solutions.”—The Association of Jewish Libraries
  • A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year
  • Nominated for the American Library Association’s 2019 Quick Picks List
  • Selected as one of Tablet Magazine’s Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2018