Gr. 10-12. Angry and alienated teens seem to be growing ever younger. Doreen, the protagonist of this disturbing coming-of-age novel, is only 14. But in her anomie and hatred of her family, she puts Holden Caulfield in the shade. Like Holden, she tells the story in sarcastic first-person, which is often scalding in its use of expletives (at one point the f
word appears 63 times in one and on-half pages), but still manages to be oddly artful in its consistency and voice. Despite her tough talk and her tendency to self-pity, Doreen gradually grows into a complex, intriguing character. Her affection for another young outsider, her only friend, Ted, is touching; her longing for her older brother, whom her father kicked out of the house when she was a girl, is haunting; and her confused feelings for her older sister's boyfriend are absolutely credible. When he sexually abuses her, readers share her pain, confusion, and despair. The ending to this difficult story is surprisingly hopeful and emotionally satisfying, if not entirely believable. This was published for adults, but it's clearly for teens--though it will best suit those readers mature enough to embrace its attitudes and edginess. Michael CartCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Louisa Luna is the author of Brave New Girl and Crooked. She lives in New York City.