Author of YA & Adult fiction
Elle Cosimano



John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders-but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

Praise for Holding Smoke:

“Holding Smoke is a smash-you-in-the-mouth book that’s intelligent, sharp-edged and action packed. Fans of hard-hitting YA better get ready to strap themselves in because Elle Cosimano has arrived on the scene and she is an outright stud. Smart, dark and ferocious, grit lit has never felt so good.” — Alan Lawrence Sitomer, author of Homeboyz and Caged Warrior, and 2007 California Teacher of the Year

“An inventive paranormal gambit, a compelling lead character, and a plot that twists and turns through to the last page.” — Claudia Gray, NYT Bestselling Author of the Evernight series and A Thousand Pieces of You

“…fantastic yet real portrait of a survivor seeking answers… Intertwined spectral and real worlds deliver double the thrills.”   — Kirkus Reviews, February 2016

“This compelling paranormal mystery strikes the right balance between tense, realistic drama and pseudo ghost story, and Cosimano, a warden’s daughter, brings authenticity to the depiction of prison life.” — Booklist Reviews

“This book is part ghost story, part redemption story, part mystery, and is very engaging. The characters are complex and relatable. This book will challenge readers to think about their views of good versus bad, and how sometimes people can be a little of both.” — School Library Connection

“Cosimano ably adds plot twists and surprises, keeping Smoke as the center while also weaving a complex story of shady guards, honorable bad guys, romance, and the foibles and limitations of the justice system. The quick pace and cool premise may be enough to coax reluctant readers who might otherwise be daunted by the sturdy size of this book.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Forced to choose between doing what is right and what is easy, John “Smoke” Conlan’s final choice will have readers racing to reach the thrilling conclusion…” — Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN)

“This chilling, moving story of a wrongly convicted murderer, John “Smoke” Conlan, depicts the life of an inmate who never sees himself getting set free. He finds unexpected love… and truth in the least expected places.” 5Q, 5P — Shirley Yan, Teen Reviewer, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“A masterfully crafted thriller that will keep you guessing until literally the very last page, Smoke’s story is thrilling, raw, and gritty.” — YA Books Central

“This book is well-written, the central characters are engaging and the plot is intriguing. Readers accepting of young protagonists will find a lot to love in Holding Smoke and a lot to think about when they are through with it. I recommend it to anyone looking for a thought provoking read.” — AAR Reviews

“Taut. Intense. Thought-provoking. Penetrating. And, at times, heart-breaking. From the first word to the last, Holding Smoke will hold the reader… utterly original. An intelligent and brilliant novel that intertwines multiple themes all while delivering a great story.” — Compass Book Reviews

EDUCATORS: Download a free Holding Smoke Common Core-aligned classroom discussion guide through Disney-Hyperion.