Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Little, Brown & Company (August 2013)

In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I’m sorry I couldn’t be more than I was—that I couldn’t stick around—and that what’s going to happen today isn’t their fault.

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.


“Quick’s use of flashbacks, internal dialogue, and interpersonal communication is brilliant, and the suspense about what happened between Leonard and Asher builds tangibly. The masterful writing takes readers inside Leonard’s tormented mind, enabling a compassionate response to him and to others dealing with trauma. May there be more Herr Silvermans willing to take personal risks to save the Leonard Peacocks.” —⁠School Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW*

“Not long into Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, I realized I was experiencing sublimity firsthand.” —⁠The Christian Science Monitor

“If John Green is the guy who can reinvigorate the cancer kid story with humor and great dialogue, Matthew Quick is the guy who rescues the crazy kid story from its history of mawkish cliché.” —⁠Barnes & Noble Review

“… a great read for young adults. And terrific stuff for the rest of us, as well.” —⁠WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station

“Its greatest irony is that, despite Leonard’s commitment to his murder-suicide plan, he appreciates and values life in a way that few do. Through Leonard, Quick urges readers to look beyond the pain of the here and now to the possibilities that await.” —⁠Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW*

“Books like Quick’s are necessary.” —⁠The New York Times

“Complicated characters and ideas remain complicated, with no facile resolutions, in this memorable story.” —⁠The Horn Book

“Full disclosure: you might need tissues to make it through Leonard Peacock, but even if you don’t, you’ll likely be touched by Leonard’s story.” —⁠Entertainment Weekly

“Clear a whole day for this book.” —⁠Mashable 11 Best YA Books of 2013

“Quick is most interested in Leonard’s psychology, which is simultaneously clear and splintered, and his voice, which is filled with brash humor, self-loathing, and bucket loads of refreshingly messy contradictions, many communicated through Leonard’s footnotes to his own story. It may sound bleak, but it is, in fact, quite brave, and Leonard’s interspersed fictional notes to himself from 2032 add a unique flavor of hope.” —⁠Booklist

“… compelling, well-drawn, realistic characters … An artful, hopeful exploration of a teen boy in intense need.” —⁠Kirkus

“… raw and demanding … Leonard’s desperate actions and emotions ring true.” —⁠The Boston Globe

“Quick, a former high school English teacher, brings a keen understanding of outsiders, school culture and human heartache to this complex and beautifully constructed tale.” —⁠BookPage

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock should be stocked in every school library.” —⁠The Denver Post

“Leonard’s life teeters dangerously between moments of pain and beauty. A fast read, because I needed to keep reading. I will not forget Leonard Peacock. I love this book.” —⁠Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us

“It’s not often you finish a novel, actually mouthing the word ‘Wow’. That was my experience of reading this book on an over-night plane, where it kept me up into the wee hours because I could not put it down. Leonard Peacock is a rare and special story: brutal but tender, heartbreaking yet funny, raw but beautifully poetic. It transfixed me from the opening line to the last. As a writer, I often get asked about my top-five YA books of all time. My list hasn’t changed for a very long, but I now have a new and much-cherished favourite.” —⁠Annabel Pitcher, author of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

“This is one of the most important books of our time.” —⁠A.S. King, Printz Honoree author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz and Ask the Passengers

“I loved this book, even more than Silver Linings Playbook. The common element is Matthew Quick’s acute observation of the different ways that people connect, and of the power of those connections in changing the course of people’s lives. His characters are seen through the hard and—yes—unforgiving eyes of his young protagonist, yet the overall effect is moving and uplifting. It’s also a very real and affecting story of a troubled young man—I was with Leonard on every page. And it’s a great read—I couldn’t put it down.”  —⁠Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

“… compelling, important … In a time when bullying and gun violence is at the top of the national conversation, this novel serves as a literary segue for teens, parents and teachers into an open dialogue on sensitive topics.” —⁠Margaret Bristol, Bookish, USA Today

“Leonard Peacock is a vivid and superbly imagined character. His inclinations—the scary and the sweet—will be familiar and maybe even reassuring to anyone who has ever had to reconcile all the wonderful and terrible that life delivers.” —⁠The Plain Dealer

“… intense, important …” —⁠The Atlantic Wire

“… the most moving novel we’ve read in a long time … this will leave a lasting impression.” —⁠Bella Magazine UK

“Important, yet terrifying in its plausibility, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock considers teenage issues in a very adult context, making it difficult to digest and forget.” —⁠The Melbourne Review

“… impressive …” —⁠Tampa Bay Times

“While avoiding simplistic resolutions, Quick leaves us with the possibility of better things to come.” —⁠Daily Pilot

“… unforgettable characters … skillful and honest writing.” —⁠Morton Grove Champion (pick of the week)


New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013

— **STARRED** reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal

— YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults

BookPage Best Children’s Books of 2013

Mashable 11 Best YA Books of 2013

L.A. Times Summer Reading Guide Selection

USA Today Top 10 Young Adult Books for Summer

— 2014 Texas Tayshas Reading List pick

— Best YA Books of the Month — August, 2013

— Barnes & Noble Best Books of the Month for Kids & Teens — August, 2013

PW Picks: The Best New Books for the Week of August 12, 2013

The Atlantic Wire — The Summer Book Guide: Y.A. Edition Selection

— Translated into Spanish, Turkish, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Korean, Czech, Slovak, Complex Chinese (Taiwan), Vietnamese, Russian, Dutch, French, Thai, and published in the UK by Headline