Study Guide


By Sonya Hartnett

Surrender Introduction

Your so-called friend makes fun of your clothes in class. The goodie two shoes kid rats you out to the principal for ditching the mandatory school field trip. Your sister scratches your mom's car and then blames you for it.

You're definitely having a bad day, right?

But chances are good that you don't respond by torching any houses or stealing anyone's pets. In fact, hopefully chances are really good.

In Surrender, though, this is exactly what Finnigan does whenever anyone ticks him off. He's made a pact with his buddy Gabriel that Finnigan will handle everything evil and bad while Gabriel is the angelic kid every parent wants. Good deal, right? Well, for Gabriel anyway. So if a kid makes fun of Gabriel, Finnigan is there to make him pay in some awful way—it's like having a guardian angel… if that guardian angel picks fights and sets fires on your behalf. The only problem is there's more than meets the eye when it comes to these two BFFs in this novel.

Published in 2005, Surrender tells the story of twenty-year-old Gabriel, recounting his life on his deathbed. Don't be fooled, though: This is no snooze fest. In fact, Sonya Hartnett's tale is one of mystery, intrigue, and murder, and there are more twists and turns in Gabriel's life than a Bond movie (or maybe even all of them combined). This psychological thriller will keep you on your toes and peeping out from under the covers until the very end.

We're not the only ones who think so, either. The book was awarded a Michael L. Printz Honor, and the American Library Association named it a Best Book for Young Adults. But don't take all these fancy pants people's word for it. See for yourself. And if you feel like sleeping with the lights on? Well, your secret's safe with us.

What is Surrender About and Why Should I Care?

Question: How do you feel about the edge of your seat?

Do you like sitting there? Because if so, then you should be pretty comfortable reading Surrender. There's just no sitting back and relaxing with this one.

What's that? You prefer to have things all figured out, to hunker down on the couch with some hot cocoa and read about happy ponies? Well, then get ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone a bit—we really do mean it when we say this book keeps you guessing until the very end. But you know what? It's good to leave your comfort zone from time to time; it builds character.

This is one of those books that makes you think long after you've put it down. Sure, you learn what the deal is with Finnigan and Gabriel, but that doesn't stop you from rethinking everything you've just read. Like, you might even find that you want to re-read it immediately after finishing, just to make sure you get it all.

But whether you love nail-biters or breezy romantic comedies, trust us when we say that you'll be asking "Did that just happen?" all the way through this book, and because of this, whether you're in or out of your comfort zone, you just won't be able to put it down. But you won't get any spoilers from us—or, you know, not right here, anyway (the learning guide is filled with them)—so pick up your copy and dig in.

Surrender Resources


Sonya's Space
The author's website, complete with information about her books and life.


Inspired by a True Story
Here's an article on the 2002 killings that inspired Sonya Hartnett to write Surrender.

An Insider's Take
An article about the author, her writing habits, and life in publishing.

Q&A Galore
Got questions for the author? Check out these Q&As on her website.

Hartnett Reveals All
The author describes her inspiration for the story, and discusses the acclaim it's received.


Let's Talk
The author sits down with Sally Warhaft to answer questions about her books.

A trailer for the book in case you need a bit of convincing to read it.


The Fire, the Hound, and the Mystery
Hartnett's book cover for Surrender.

Will the Real Gabriel Please Stand Up?
A 12th century mosaic of the angel that provides Anwell's new name.

Author's Take
Check out what Sonya Harnett looks like in her portrait.