• US Edition

Holding Smoke

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION meets IF I STAY. This is a stunning, unputdownable thriller by the author of NEARLY GONE.

John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders – but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. Homeless and alone, his new life inside a dangerous Denver youth detention center is the only future he can imagine for himself — the only one he’s convinced he deserves. After a near-death experience renders his soul free of his body, Smoke uses his strange new gift to escape the confines of “the Y”, knowing that such freedom comes with a price. Ghostlike, he “travels” the city at night, garnering information about his fellow inmates and bartering it for privileges, never knowing (or caring) how many more trips remain before the fragile threads that bind his body and soul break for good.
Until he meets Pink — a tough, resourceful girl with her own set of baggage and the uncanny ability to see him for what he is and, more importantly, what he could be. With Pink’s help, Smoke uncovers a key to exposing the real killer and clearing his name, as well as his guilty conscience. But the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes, and with his physical body stuck behind bars, it will take more than his astral self to save them. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke has to decide how much he’s willing to risk and if he can imagine a future worth fighting for.

Rights details

World English Language: Disney-Hyperion (Spring 2016)

Good news

Shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Awards 2016 (YA category)


Shortlisted for Georgia Peach Award 2017-18


The Author

Elle Cosimano

The series is about a struggling novelist whose fiction treads dangerously close to the truth when she becomes entangled in real-life murder investigations. The books have been optioned for TV by 20th Television Studios and have appeared in an astonishing number of “best of” round-ups, including:

One of “The Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021” ―Parade
One of “The Most Anticipated Debuts of 2021” ―Bustle
One of “The Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021” ―Goodreads
One of “The Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2021” ―Crimereads

Elle is also an accomplished YA novelist, and the author of the epic teen fantasy duology, SEASONS OF THE STORM and SEASONS OF CHAOS, as well as several other exciting and well reviewed YA titles.

She lives in Northern Virginia with her family.


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