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The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
Cover of The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
A Novel
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For fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Girl, Interrupted, and A.S. King, National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her...
For fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Girl, Interrupted, and A.S. King, National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her...
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  • For fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Girl, Interrupted, and A.S. King, National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her mysterious death, and the fandom that won't let her go.

    From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone's subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best--including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics--and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28.
    --Adele Griffin

    From the Hardcover edition.



  • From the book

    PROLOGUEI met Addison Stone only once. She had enrolled as a freshman in my creative writing workshop at Pratt Institute. There were only six other students in my class, and as a visiting instructor, I was happy we'd be such a tight group. Fifteen minutes into the session, I'd figured this "A. Stone" person wasn't attending. So when a girl skittered in, late and unapologetic, I was annoyed.
    She was striking: tall yet delicate, with pale skin and dark eyes and two braids like a pair of flat black ropes past her shoulders. The scars on her wrists caught me off guard. She didn't speak, not even to apologize for being late. Perhaps most telling, she scraped back the only empty chair so that it stood outside the circle I'd arranged. When she sat, her paint-spattered arms dropped at her sides as if she had no use of them.
    We'd been making introductions, so I started over for her benefit. We went around the circle again: a few sentences each about who we were and where we'd come from. When we got to Addison, she shook her head.
    "I'm not here yet," she said softly. Startled, some of the other students looked to me for a reaction. Who did this girl think she was? I had none. I was thinking, Who'd remember anything else about that day except for the girl who told them she wasn't there?

    Before they left, I gave an assignment: pick a memory and describe it in the voice of yourself at the age you lived through it. One paragraph or one page--no more. Due in my inbox by five o'clock on Friday. At 5:13 on Friday, Addison's essay hit:

    I'm last. I'm late. I pull my chair away for comfort. I'm invisible and exposed. My words establish my walls. My whole life I'm two people. I am I, and I am Her. I've been asked to pin down a moment. But do I care about my past? Why would I want to look behind when I'm hurtling forward so fast? I'm mostly scared I can't catch up with me. I am always almost out of time.

    A moment later, my inbox pinged with Addison's next email.

    I'm dropping the class.

    And that was it.
    Of course I never forgot her. When I heard that Addison had left Pratt after one semester, I was disappointed, but like everyone else on the faculty, I kept an eye on her career. I silently cheered when her self-portrait was accepted into the Whitney Biennial; I was fascinated by her prank Project #53. Then by next July, she was dead. A brilliant artist, all that potential, erased. It was heartbreaking and pointless.
    I'd been blocked trying to come up with my next book idea, and as I learned more about my former student, I couldn't shake the fact that Addison Stone's life had all the ingredients of a perfect novel. Ultimately, I have to credit Julie Jernigan's explosive Art & Artist magazine cover story "Who Broke Our Butterfly? The Last Days of Addison Stone" for kick-starting me to dig for a deeper truth--as it hinted that either one of two famous young men to whom she'd been linked romantically, Zachary Fratepietro and Lincoln Reed, might be culpable.
    Every time I read that single cryptic paragraph Addison had dashed off for my class, I wondered if in some way she'd been asking for me to find her all along.
    I decided to go looking. With a year off from teaching, I threw myself into my research. I taped hundreds of interviews from people whose lives were connected to Addison's. Her story took me from Sag Harbor to California, from Europe to Nepal, and of course to Peacedale, Rhode Island, where Addison spent her childhood. She began to obsess me. In every gallery and café, on every street corner it seemed there was another...

About the Author-

  • Adele Griffin is a two-time National Book Award finalist and the highly acclaimed author of Loud Awake and Lost, as well as numerous other books for young adult and middle grade readers. Adele lives with her husband, Erich, and their two young children in Brooklyn, New York.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 2, 2014
    In a faux biography of a deceased teenage rising star in the art world, Griffin (Loud Awake and Lost) builds a novel around interviews from people involved in Addison’s life before she died, excerpts from media coverage of her rapidly growing fame, photographs of Addison and her friends, and images of her artwork. The myriad voices include her friends and neighbors from back home in Rhode Island, the teachers who helped engineer her success, the boys she became involved with, the hard-partying crowd she ran with in New York City, her high-powered art dealer, and the psychiatrist who prescribed her antipsychotic medication. As they recount how talented, beautiful, cruel, difficult, or tragic Addison was in life, they often reveal their own insecurities, arrogance, ulterior motives, and desire to share Addison’s fame. Griffin offers incisive commentary on mental illness and the frenzy around (and pressures induced by) celebrity, especially surrounding young women. Defined primarily by the contradictory accounts of those around her, Addison remains something of a cipher even by book’s end. Ages 14–up. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Aug.)

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2014
    Why did an 18-year-old artist fall from an overpass in New York City in the middle of the night?This "investigative" novel reveals the back story to Addison's meteoric rise from small-town life to the art world's it girl. Griffin is a character in her own novel as a reporter intent on getting to the bottom of the artist's death. Addy had always shown a raw talent mixed with a magnetic personality that repelled people as often as it drew them to her. Haunted by voices, on anti-psychotic drugs after attempting suicide, Addy jumped at the chance to attend art school in New York when a video of her swinging from a chandelier, "drunk on fear," went viral. Swept up in a frenzy of activity, in and out of love, she somehow found time to showcase her creative genius. Snippets of interviews sprinkled with color photographs and paintings form a portrait of a sassy and troubled young woman. The novel's effectiveness as a tongue-in-cheek indictment of the shallowness of contemporary cultural life is undermined by an overreliance on stereotypes: the philandering father, clueless mother, aggressive agent, gay roommate, and most gratuitous of all, the family's Hawaiian neighbors, who ask their shaman to perform a ritual of harmonic healing, recognizing that the "spirit here's been troubled for a real long time."An interesting but ultimately unsatisfying experiment in form. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from July 1, 2014

    Gr 8 Up-Everyone knows who Addison Stone was, even if they didn't know anything about her. Addy was a small-town girl with dreams of artistic immortality. Her talent was incredible, and she landed an agent almost the moment she set foot in New York at the age of 17. Soon her life became a whirlwind of parties, love affairs, and bursts of creativity. But Addison was keeping secrets, and burning too brightly. It seems, looking back, that her life was destined to end early, and tragically. This fictional biography of a visual and performance artist Addison Stone is compelling and tragic from the very first page. Griffin tells the teen's story through compiled interview excerpts from those who knew, loved, and hated her. The media, which include texts to and from her friends, paint a picture of a brilliant artist full of life and potential, but also reveal the young woman's unbalanced mental state and her loved ones' concern. Interspersed are photos and reproductions of the protagonist's artwork, magazine covers and articles, and interviews with Addison herself for various publications, layering level upon level of reality to the story. Readers will be fascinated with the novel and caught up in the drama right up to the end.-Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The Washington Post "[An] intricate, intoxicating novel . . . This compelling story can be read on many levels, from a multi-voiced meditation on a brief, bright life in the Big Apple to an exploration of the biographer's almost impossible task: the discovery and distillation of another's complex self."
  • The Guardian "Written like a longform piece of journalism... a gripping read with a seriously ominous ending... one of the most unique books I've ever read."
  • The Boston Globe "An acute examination of a young woman's troubled mind as much as it's a mystery . . . that she remains an enigma, even at the fascinating novel's end, somehow makes Addison's death all the more harrowing."
  • The Daily Beast "Addictive . . . Despite all of the photos and paintings and interviews, Stone remains an enigma . . . As characters debate the true nature of Addison Stone, they reveal just how little they know each other and themselves, and how much they project their own beliefs, fears, and hopes onto the world."
  • Justine Magazine "Photographs, interviews and articles tell the story of a girl caught up in the glamorous society art scene of Manhattan, spinning out of control . . . Brilliant and unforgettable."
  • Shelf Awareness, Starred Review "Resembles an in-depth article one might read in The New Yorker . . . A compelling fictional biography."
  • WBAL-TV "Like Gone Girl with another twist . . . A hot one."
  • Chico Enterprise Record "This book has the best of both genres: a gripping mystery and a fascinating biography."
  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "A compelling look at the dark underbelly of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasy, an exploration of the way a magnetic personality can imbalance relationships, a portrait of an artist whose talent comes from the part of her that endangers her . . . There's no shortage of romance in the portrayal of Addison, the brilliant beauty who captured all eyes and whose ghost still powers imaginations, but perceptive readers will see beyond the glamour to the simmering dysfunction."
  • Romantic Times "Griffin's mixed media approach is fresh and welcome; art and photographs dot the pages of a compelling biography."
  • BookPage "Griffin presents readers with overlapping perspectives on Addison's frenetic life of gallery openings, parties and performance art, and the doubt and self-destructive tendencies lurking beneath her fierce creativity . . . Multifaceted and thoroughly postmodern."
  • VOYA "A fast-paced, engaging read. Tormented by mental illness or possibly the supernatural, Addison is an unpredictable and compelling central figure."
  • TeenReads "A thorough, multi-faceted picture of this one-of-a-kind girl, who was simultaneously sensitive and wild, selfish and loving, eclectic and vulnerable. I'd recommend it, wholly."
  • Horn Book Magazine "An intimate and cohesive portrait of a complex girl . . . The whirlwind pace will have readers in its grip."
  • Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us "Captivating, original, brilliant, and so dangerously exhilarating that you'll find yourself addicted to the entire immersive experience. You will fly through this thriller, incapable of putting it down."
  • Daniel Handler, New York Times bestselli "Only a writer as fierce and imaginative as Adele Griffin could bring us the real story of Addison Stone, a true talent and a bona fide star."

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A Novel
Adele Griffin
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