Still Waters

A gritty, powerful debut that evokes The Outsiders. You won’t be able to look away.

High-schooler Jason knows how to take a punch. Living with a drunk, abusive father will teach a kid that. He has also learned how to hit back, earning a reputation at school that ensures no one will mess with him. He just wants to survive his father long enough to turn 18, take his younger sister, Janie, and run away. Start life over.

Then one day the leader of the in-crowd at school, Michael, offers to pay Jason fifty dollars per day to hang out with him. Jason figures Michael simply wants to be seen with someone with a tough-guy rep, and that kind of money will add up fast, making Jason’s escape plan a reality. Yet as Jason gets drawn deeper into Michael’s game, the money keeps flowing, but the stakes grow ever more dangerous. Soon even Jason’s fists and ability to think on his feet aren’t enough to keep his head above water. Still Waters is an intense, gritty thriller that pulls no punches—yet leaves you rooting for the tough guy. A powerful, dynamic debut.


Parsons adeptly takes on the teenage male perspective in her gritty debut. Parsons creates deeply felt characters. Tight plotting combined with raw voice and emotion will propel readers through this thriller. Keep an eye on Parsons.” — Booklist

(A) provocative and suspenseful book, centering on a boy who’s difficult to like at first. But as readers get to know him and understand how and why he has that tough exterior, they will find themselves worrying about him more and more. Still Waters features well-drawn characters, realistic dialogue, and ethical dilemmas that many readers have already faced or might have to face in the future. A great choice for reluctant readers, fans of books with male protagonists, and lovers of survivor stories.” — School Library Journal

Debut author Parsons turns in an edgy thriller about a teenager whose propensity for violence gets him caught up in deadly matters. A dark, fast-paced, and violent crime drama about desperation and revenge that explores a complex moral dynamic. Jason’s flaws and rough edges help create a rounded, dimensional character, and his narrative is stark and compelling.” — Publishers Weekly

(Parsons) weaves a web of lies and deceit around Jason, so much so that readers will barely know whom to trust. As Jason tries to figure out who’s playing what and for whom, readers get a look at a fully formed but terribly damaged individual.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Set against a landscape of impossible choices, Still Waters is a story about hope and redemption that should not be missed.
— Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of Unbreakable

STILL WATERS is the story of a young man trapped in a life governed by deprivation, manipulation and violence. Ash Parsons has created a world where everyone is a potential enemy and the easiest solutions are delivered by a clenched fist. You will root for Jason, you will ache for his choices, and you will not be able to put this book down until the very last page. A captivating debut.”
— Carrie Mesrobian, Author of Morris Award finalist Sex & Violence