Has to Be Love

Years ago, Clara survived a vicious bear attack. She’s used to getting sympathetic looks around town, but meeting strangers is a different story. Yet her dreams go far beyond Knik, Alaska, and now she’s got a secret that’s both thrilling and terrifying—an acceptance letter from Columbia University. But it turns out her scars aren’t as fixable as she hoped, and when her boyfriend begins to press for a forever commitment, she has second thoughts about New York. Then Rhodes, a student teacher in her English class, forces her to acknowledge her writing talent, and everything becomes even more confusing—especially with the feelings she’s starting to have about him. Now all Clara wants to do is hide from the tough choices she has to make. When her world comes crashing down around her, Clara has to confront her problems and find her way to a decision. Will she choose the life of her dreams or the life that someone she loves has chosen? Which choice is scarier?

  • 272 Pages
  • 5.5" x 8.25"
  • 9780807565575
  • September 2015

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 288 Pages
  • 5.5" x 8.25"
  • 9780807531679
  • September 2016

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 9780807565582
  • September 2015

Other Places to Buy


  • This is a poignant coming-of-age tale in which Perry’s exploration of Clara’s daily dealings with deformity and grief is sensitive and illuminating.

    - Kirkus Reviews

  • For those readers engaging in the safety-versus-freedom stage of adolescent development, Clara serves as a spirited model of respectfully balancing the influence of loved ones as she moves toward listening to her own true self.

    - Booklist

  • This book breathlessly captures that adolescent moment of being torn between an old life and the possibility of the new as well as romance and the dangers and exhilarations of physical contact.

    - School Library Journal

Common Core

W.11-12.4,5,9,10 SL.11-12.1,1a,1c,1d,3,4,6 RL.11-12.1,2,3,4,5,6 L.11-12.4,5,5a,5b,6


  • Accelerated Reader Points: 11
  • ATOS Level: 4.5