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  • Published: 28 August 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143573913
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love—one debilitating phobia at a time.

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather met Death, her entire family has been cursed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime—a fear that will eventually lead each and every one of them to their graves. Take Esther’s father, for instance: he’s an agoraphobe who hasn’t left the basement in six years. Then there’s her twin brother, Eugene, whose fear of the dark goes far beyond the things that go bump in the night. And her mother, Rosemary, is terrified of bad luck.
As for Esther, she’s managed to escape the curse . . . so far. She doesn’t yet have a great fear because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, crowds—anything that might trigger a phobia is off-limits and is recorded in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.
Esther thinks she has it all figured out, until she’s reunited with an old classmate—and first crush—Jonah Smallwood. An unexpected friendship between the two develops and together they face one phobia at a time, only to discover the one fear they hadn’t counted on: love.

  • Published: 28 August 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143573913
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Krystal Sutherland

Krystal Sutherland’s first novel, Our Chemical Hearts, was published in more than twenty countries and made the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next List in 2016. The film adaptation, Chemical Hearts (2020), was produced by Amazon Studios and stars Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Austin Abrams (Dash & Lily). Sutherland served as an executive producer on the project. Her second novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, was published in 2017 and has been optioned for adaptation by Yellow Bird. Her third book, House of Hollow, was a New York Times bestseller and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Originally from Australia, she has lived on four continents and currently calls London home.

Also by Krystal Sutherland

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Praise for A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

Rainbow Rowell devotees, John Green junkies, and fans of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales will find a lot to love here.

School Library Journal

A story that is both uproarious­ly funny and thought provoking. Deftly weaving irony within her narrative . . . A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is ear­marked to be a classic.


[A] darkly ironic tale about an offbeat dysfunctional family.

Publishers Weekly

A bewitching book . . . Sutherland’s fertile imagination makes this book a deep dive into the intricacies of family, friends, and personal history . . . A fresh and compelling look at mental illness.

Kirkus Reviews

A touching, hilarious and relatable book for older teens about depression, anxiety, facing your fears and learning to accept help when you need it most . . .

Tamsien West, Books + Publishing

[I]mmediately hooks readers . . . Libraries should purchase this for readers looking for something quite out of the ordinary.


A funny, touching story filled with memorable characters and big issues.


Krystal Sutherland' new book, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, is the kind of charmingly quirky YA novel that in five years will absolutely become a cult classic teen movie that underperforms at the box office.


Awards & recognition

CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Notable Book  •  2018  •  Older Readers

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