Excerpt: A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight by Jen White

About the Book:

Jen White’s A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight is a sensitively-written middle grade novel about a girl struggling with anxiety, family secrets, and the meaning of friendship.

Cora is constantly counting the minutes. It’s the only thing that stops her brain from rattling with worry, from convincing her that danger is up ahead. Afraid of the unknown, Cora spends her days with her feet tucked into sand, marveling at La Quinta beach’s giant waves and her little sister Sunshine’s boundless energy.

And then danger really does show up at Cora’s doorstep–her absentee uncle, whose sudden presence in the middle of the night makes her parents nervous and secretive. As dawn breaks once more, Cora must piece together her family and herself, one minute at a time.

A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight is an endearing and revelatory middle-grade novel that is perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree.


A silent house, in the middle of the night, might be one of the loneliest places on the planet. Did you hear that? 

Brain says: Absolutely an ax murderer. 

Crouched in the hallway, I’m poised for anything. It’s 11:31 p.m. to be exact, and a wonder that I can even hear Brain, with my heart hammering in my eardrums. Inside my head, I count. 

1 2 3 4 5 

Counting helps. Sometimes counting the minutes is the only thing that soothes the worry that wedges itself on top of my diaphragm. Right now, I’m tucked into a shadow in our long hallway, the one that leads from our bedrooms to our front entry. I adjust my Las Olas Middle School T-shirt that’s tucked weirdly into my leggings and pretend I’m brave. 

Moments ago, I was perfectly happy, asleep in my room, curled up with Chevy, our bulldog, but I must have heard something. 

Brain says: We did. 

Chevy now stands at my feet and the hair on the back of his neck bristles. A slight growl gurgles up from the edge of his throat. Voices, muted but urgent. 

With Chevy at my heels, I creep down the hall to our front door. Something bumps—a soft thud. Shadows waver through the bubbled glass window above our entry. Without warning, the front door flings open with a bang. 

The handle punches a quick, tidy hole into the wall behind it. I jump back, but what’s weird is that Chevy doesn’t bark. Instead, his tail wags. 

Dad steps over the threshold, carrying something heavy. Did he say he was going out? I don’t remember. 

Then Mom steps into the light. She holds the end part as she and Dad lug a person through our front door. 

I hold my breath. 

Dad says, “Watch his head.” 

“You watch his head,” says Mom. “I’m trying to make sure his filthy shoes don’t touch my floors. The cleaners just came today.” 


Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gcvXnt

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-thousand-minutes-to-sunlight-jen-white/1136619248?ean=9780374300869

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/a-thousand-minutes-to-sunlight/id1509037801?mt=11&id=1509037801&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-thousand-minutes-to-sunlight

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=1sXdDwAAQBAJ

About the Author: Jen White writes middle grade fiction. Her second book, A THOUSAND MINUTES TO SUNLIGHT, releases on 4.20.21. Her debut, SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE, has been translated into several languages. She grew up in Southern California and currently resides there with her family. Jen received her bachelor of art’s degree in English and her master’s degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can find out more at www.jenwhitebooks.com.

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