From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Dana Reinhardt's ripped-from-the-headlines novel is told in the first person, in alternating chapters, by three teen protagonists—Anna, Emma, and Mariah—all freshmen at a private day school in a New York state college town. Mariah, one of the hottest girls in school, befriends best friends Anna and Emma and invites them to a party at the home of her boyfriend, who is older and attends the local public school. The girls easily get away with lying to their parents about where they are going. When the teens decide to meet the boys for a second time, they tell their parents that they're going to a movie. When they're caught in this lie, they concoct what they consider to be a harmless story about being down by the river and a man trying to attack one of them and the others fending him. The story works, until an innocent man is arrested and things mushroom out of control. Listeners are privy to how each girl is coping with the events as they unravel and what she thinks about the other girls' reactions. Teens will be drawn into the drama of how smart people can sometimes do stupid things, and will be satisfied with the difficult resolution each girl ultimately must face. Three female narrators do a convincing job of portraying each character in a realistic manner. As a bonus feature, there's an interview with the author about her motivation for writing the novel.—Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY
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What price a lie? This is the all-important question when Anna, Emma, and Mariah spend the night with Mariah's boyfriend and his friends, and are caught by their parents. Terrified that they will be grounded, they concoct a story of a foiled rape, clueless that their parents will pursue the case by contacting police and that the school and university communities will hold them up as role models. When a vagrant is arrested for the crime, their lies come full circle. Reinhardt's thought-provoking story avoids preachiness in part because of the girls' strong, complex characterizations. Geeky Anna, encouraged by all the attention, buys new clothes and makeup; Mariah dumps DJ and continues her rebellion against her domineering stepfather; Emma, more affected by the actual party, cocoons into herself. A subplot about Emma's father doesn't add much substance to the story, but overall, Reinhardt offers a well-constructed object lesson in responsibility that will set teens thinking. Frances BradburnCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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