From School Library Journal
Grade 6–8—At her 13th-birthday dinner, Evyn's hippie father, Birdie, drops a bomb. He is going to marry Eleni Gartos, a college professor with six children, and Evyn and her 15-year-old brother will be leaving their home in Maine and moving to Boston with him. Evyn feels that her world has collapsed, while Mackey just asks to have two desserts. Feeling alone, the girl begins a dialogue with her dead mother as she imagines her. Friend captures the emotions and angst of a teen on the brink of womanhood thrust into a large, vocal stepfamily while having to share her father with a woman she hardly knows and a house full of stepsiblings. Throughout her ups and downs, Birdie's love remains constant, her stepsiblings are accepting, and her brother is transforming himself from a nerdy computer geek into a fledgling thespian. When her stepmother becomes pregnant, Evyn sets out to hop a bus to Maine. The beginnings of acceptance and possibilities are ignited as she learns to follow her inner "wise woman"—her mother's advice-and to "bounce" with the changes in her life. Friend offers no fairy-tale ending but presents, through hip conversations and humor, believable characters and a feel-good story with a satisfying amount of pathos.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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About the Author
Award-winning author of Perfect, Natasha Friend was born in Norwich, New York. Upon receiving her B.A. in Psychology in 1994 from Bates College, Natasha went on to Clemson University to earn her M.A. in English in 1997. As a former camp director and English teacher, Natasha enjoys singing and song-lyric writing and plans to write more books in the future. Her first book, Perfect, poignantly probes the hushed struggles of body image, eating disorders, and grief. Perfect has won the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature and Book Sense’s Pick. When commenting on Perfect, Booklist wrote, Friend elevates what could have been just another problem novel to a truly worthwhile read of great interest to many girls.”
Natasha’s newest title, Lush, boldly delves into the tumultuous life and mind of a thirteen-year-old girl whose father is an alcoholic. Samantha must cope with sadness, secrecy, and shame in addition to her own teenage trials. Just when Samantha’s skin toughens and emotions numb, it gets worse for her. Natasha wrote this book in an effort to spotlight the proverbial elephant in the room,” so that its presence is acknowledged and removed.
Natasha currently resides in Connecticut with her husband, Erik, and sons, Jack and Ben.