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Inside Out Girl: A Novel Paperback – August 12, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061452955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061452956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,808,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cohen throws every imaginable obstacle at her protagonists in this thoughtful but overly dramatic tale of two single parents turned lovers. Rachel Berman, the divorced publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, is striving to be just that to her two children, rebellious teen Janie and 12-year-old Dustin. Len Bean, a widowed lawyer, meanwhile, tries to manage his daughter Olivia's learning disorder, a condition that causes her to repeatedly talk about rodents and dress inappropriately. When Rachel and Len serendipitously meet, they hit it off. Soon their lives and those of their children become intertwined, much to Janie and Dustin's dismay. As tension builds for the children, a secret from Rachel's past comes to the forefront, and Len receives bad news at the doctor's office. Regret, rejection and worry abound as the plot touches on the standard societal/familial issues (divorce, teenage sexuality, adoption), and Rachel fights to create her own legacy at work. Cohen's language is pleasant and the characters relatable, but the plot is so obvious that the narrative feels like a quirky soap opera. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This compelling, insightful story is surprisingly lighthearted in spite of several heavy themes. Rachel Berman is raising her 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son by herself, after a divorce. She's also working hard to keep her father's magazine, Perfect Parent, financially afloat. Len Bean, an attorney, is raising his 10-year-old special-needs daughter alone; his wife was killed in a traffic accident when their daughter was five. The three children attend the same school, where Olivia Bean is known as "Inside Out Girl" because of her strange dress and overreadiness to hug, not to mention her love of data about rats. Soon after Rachel and Len meet, and then begin dating, Len discovers that he has a fatal brain tumor; finding a home for Olivia after his eventual death coincides with Rachel's longing to know what became of the daughter she bore as a teen and surrendered for adoption. Meanwhile, Rachel's daughter is struggling with her passionate crush on the girl next door. Characters are complete, credible, and engaging. Olivia and her nonverbal learning disorder are presented cogently and without stereotyping either her personality or the responses that she draws from kids and adults. This is a romance novel worthy of readers' time.—Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

It is a beautiful story with wonderful characters.
J. Lindsay Kolari
Rachel's kids can't believe their mother is dating the father of the weirdest kid in school, the one they call Inside Out Girl.
Alice Berger
There is a wonderful innocence and naivete about this child that makes us ache to be more real.
Zinta Aistars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Marisa95 on August 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Hello! I have Nonverbal Learning Disorder. The character Olivia is supposed to have NLD but it was very misleading. The majority of the actions and symptoms she had were not relevant to NLD characteristics at all. NLD is very similar to Aspergers Syndrome but it is not an intellectual disability. It is a disability that is caused by damage to the white matter in our brain giving us defecits in spatial awareness, excecutive functioning defecits, social skills difficulties, academic struggles in math and motor/gross coordination difficulties. We can fully understand the meaning of death and we can understand other people's feelings but we need to be told verbally. We are not clueless. We can sense that something is wrong and went wrong and then we just ask. after an explanation we get it. We cannot understand social cues very well, but all we need is some guidance. We do get bullied for being different though. There is SO much more to NLD than the inaccurate descriptions in this book. Olivia seemed more autistic or mentally challenged than NLD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patry Francis on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Len Bean and Rachel Berman are two attractive single parents, doing their best to balance high-powered careers and the needs of their children when they meet in the breakdown lane of the highway. (For once, it's the woman who plays hero, since Len has no idea how to change a tire.) What follows is an old fashioned love story--but not the one I expected. Though I was utterly charmed by Len's devotion to his daughter and Rachel's tendency to apologize for things that aren't her fault, it was the children who stole my heart. Olivia, who loves rodents and her father beyond reason is one of those unforgettable child characters whose triumphs and heartbreaks will sear you forever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Lindsay Kolari on August 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! It is a beautiful story with wonderful characters. I loved Olivia, a quirky and adorable mix of innocence and heart breaking vulnerability. I loved the relationship between Len and his daughter Olivia. A moving story and a great read from cover to cover.
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Format: Paperback
I love when I am so taken by a book's characters and plot that despite my better efforts to put it down I find my mind keeps drifting back to the book and my desire to find out what will happen. This book easily did it to me.

When the book opens Len and Rachel are single parents brought together over a flat tire. Each is dealing with his or her own challenge. For Len it's a child with a learning ability who requires his constant attention and protection. For Rachel it's managing a struggling magazine once run by her father while parenting two children. What follows is not a typical love story, but one with a very real quality that forces them to confront a secret from the past as well as the uncertainty of the future. The story of single parents finding love again is not new, but Cohen tells it in such a way that it is fresh and compelling at every turn.

Overall I could not recommend this book more highly. It is one of the most compelling I have read in a long time. Much of this is due to the characters that Cohen creates. She does a beautiful job of bringing them to life with realistic dialogue, emotional inner feelings, and interesting scenes. By the end of it I had really fallen in love with each character. She manages to make them seem as complex as real people and in this you cannot help but root for each one of them. She also succeeds at throwing in enough twists and turns to keep the book interesting while doing a great job of wrapping up various story lines. In reading her book I found myself reminded of My Sister's Keeper: A Novel because she deals with emotional issues in a way that is thought provoking.

Overall this is an excellent read and will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates well developed characters and an emotional story with interesting twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Rachel is an uptight single mother of Janie and Dustin, who is trying to save her family's parenting magazine from going under. Len is a widowed father, who is trying his best to raise his daughter in spite of her non-verbal learning disorder, which prevents her from finding meaning in people's body language. Due to Olivia's inability to understand social cues, she always wears her mismatched clothes inside out and is consequently deemed `inside out girl' by her schoolmates.

Throughout the novel, readers get an intimate glimpse into the thoughts and lives of Rachel, Janie, Len and Olivia. My only criticism is that Rachel's son, Dustin, and her mother, Piper, were always involved in the plot and yet never get the proper attention by the narrative that I would have liked to see. The reader does not get the chance to hear their perspectives on the events that transpire, which could have made for a more complete story.

What I really enjoyed about the book was its fresh approach to childhood disorders. Cohen was always sensitive with her description of non-verbal learning disorder and took care to inform readers, while also showing the difficulties and worries that often arise for affected children and their parents. I was incredibly moved by Cohen's portrayal of Olivia, which I believe effectively conveys her true talents as a writer and a storyteller.

While there were instances when the fine line between heartwarming and cliché was blurred, the characters were still able to evoke genuine emotion out of me. I felt most connected to Olivia and I found myself wishing she was real just so I could give her a big hug! The bullying that she endured really angered me and the touching things she said never failed to elicit a smile or a tear.
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