From School Library Journal
Grade 8-10–With the hindsight provided by two years' maturity, Jessica looks back on the year her parents divorced, her mother withdrew, her father moved in with his girlfriend, and she herself slipped into sexual activity that she almost immediately regretted. Hoffmann vividly depicts how a 12-year-old's confused desperation, need for comfort, and inability to know when or how to stop self-destructive behavior lead her down a perilous path. Even well-meaning friends and a concerned teacher have difficulty breaking through to her. It's almost an accident when an observant neighbor alerts her mother to a suspicious stranger–Jessica's lover–helping the girl to end that relationship. A pregnancy scare gives her additional reason to reflect on and question what she's been up to. In the end, she has the luck and support that enable her to change course. The writing is realistic, insightful, and nonjudgmental. This book can provide teens with some understanding as to why people might make risky choices while offering readers the assurance that bad decisions need not be irrevocable. –Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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Gr. 10-12. After her parents' divorce, Jessica's father turns to a new love, and her mother is absorbed in grief and rejection. Jessica feels abandoned and unimportant until she becomes aware of the attention her blossoming body and sexuality can bring. Gradually, this attention seems more important than school, her budding talent as a photographer, or even her self-respect. In her desperate unhappiness, Jessica mistakes male lust and sex (described in frequent, frank scenes) with the beginning of a fulfilling relationship. Her photographer's eye can see her mother's neediness, but not her own; her former friend's status as "easy," but not her own bad reputation. Hoffmann's writing talent saves the novel from becoming too didactic, even as the story hammers home a lesson that is far better for teenage girls to learn from a book than from experience. Frances BradburnCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved