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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: 0.8 x 5.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,111,719 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

Slow start but great read.
Patricia A Czekanski
There is a wonderful innocence and naivete about this child that makes us ache to be more real.
Zinta Aistars
It is a beautiful story with wonderful characters.
J. Lindsay Kolari

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 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
Tish Cohen, author of TOWN HOUSE, generally writes children's books. INSIDE OUT GIRL is a book for adults about children. It takes a sympathetic and sensitive look at the hidden lives of youngsters, sees what they see and tells us how they feel --- about bullying, pop culture and even being gay.

Len Bean is a widower trying, often desperately, to raise Olivia, a six-year-old with "special needs," in this case a learning disorder that gives her the appearance of a higher-than-average verbal intelligence masking a total inability to understand what people are trying to tell her. If you tell Olivia "You're pulling my leg," her eyes go to your legs. Olivia thinks, hopes, that every day is her birthday and keeps on believing that children, any children, will come to her party. For Len, life is less than a party, knowing as he does that Olivia will repel rather than attract other kids, and will need a high level of personal care all her life.

Len meets Rachel Berman on the roadside, where he is trying ineptly to change a tire while looking out for the obstreperous Olivia. Rachel knows how to change a tire. She is the highly competent managing editor of a children's magazine called Perfect Parent, which has been losing sales lately because the reality of parenting is less than perfect. She takes time out of her packed schedule, which includes monitoring her two adolescent kids and unruly mother, to help Len, whose specialty is divorce and adoption law. His profession is part of the attraction --- that and Olivia, whose gun-metal gray eyes speak volumes to Rachel, reminding her starkly of a secret in her past that will come to light in the course of her crisis-to-crisis life as a single mom trying to engage in a courtship after a bad divorce.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Your inside is out, and your outside is in." -- Beatles, 1968 from "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me & My Monkey

Olivia Bean 10, whose name is as deliciously appealing as her very quirky character dances to her own tune. She lives with her widowed father Len and her paternal grandparents are part of her life.

Len is clearly a good father trying his best with Olivia who, at 5 was diagnosed with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder or NLD. A condition that has closely overlapping behaviors with autism, the distinguishing factor of NLD is an indiscrimate display of affection. Author Tish Cohen defines Asperger's Syndrome, which is the spectrum partner to autism as a condition wherein people are content to remain in their own worlds. That is not true. Many if not most people AS crave social interaction and social acceptance but have trouble navigating social terrain with their neurotypical (NT) counterparts.

Olivia's behavior is very bizarre. She hugs everyone without question; she does not even know when her own birthday is and she wears her clothing inside out. She plays with Barbie dolls in a very unusual way and has an encyclopediac knowledge about rodents. In fact, readers are introduced to Len and Olivia when her rodent dies and she refuses to bury him.

A chance encounter with magazine editor Rachel Berman bring two families together. A divorcee with 2 children, Janie 14, and Dustin, 12 Rachel has all she can manage with the magazine and her children's issues. Unknown to her, Janie is gay and Dustin is a typical pre-teen interested in skating and heckling his sister. He is very funny and the typical brother.

Len and Rachel plainly need each other, even if their kids don't hit it off right off the bat.
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