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Starting From Here [Kindle Edition]

Lisa Jenn Bigelow
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sixteen-year-old Colby Bingham’s heart has been broken too many times. Her mother has been dead for almost two years, her truck driver father is always away, her almost girlfriend just dumped her for a guy, and now she’s failing chemistry.

When a stray dog lands literally at her feet, bleeding and broken on a busy road, it seems like the Universe has it in for Colby. But the incident also knocks a chink in the walls she’s built around her heart. Against her better judgment, she decides to care for the dog.

But new connections mean new opportunities for heartbreak. Terrified of another loss, Colby bolts at the first sign of trouble, managing to alienate her best friend, her father, the cute girl pursing her, and even her dog’s vet, who’s taken Colby under her wing. Colby can’t start over, but can she learn how to move on?

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the two years since 16-year-old Colby’s mother died, Colby’s grades have slipped, and her father’s nonstop work as a trucker leaves her to fend for herself most of the time. When Colby’s girlfriend dumps her for a guy, it’s the last straw; Colby is distraught and defensive, and she further isolates herself by avoiding the gay-straight alliance meetings at school as well as her best friend Van. Things begin to change for the better when she adopts and forms an intense attachment to a three-legged stray dog. Colby befriends a vet and finds a new love interest, but neither of the girls has come out to her parents, and Colby is reluctant to open her heart again. Debut author Bigelow capably captures a teen’s fears of abandonment and judgment, as well as the often wobbly path toward developing a sexual identity, through Colby’s pragmatic perspective. This voice-driven coming-of-age story offers a relatable glimpse at the value of honesty in relationships and of showing one’s authentic self to the world. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)

From Booklist

Sixteen going on seventeen isn’t so sweet for Colby. In the two years since her mother’s death, her father has been on the road driving his big rig in every direction but toward her. She’s become increasingly withdrawn and unfocused, and she is edging far too close to failing out of school. And the cherry atop her misery sundae? Her girlfriend, her first love, dumped her for a boy. There are some bright spots, however, including her best friend, Van, and her beloved dog, Mo, both of whom give her the unconditional love she craves. Bigelow effectively shapes a narrative of a girl adrift in her own loneliness. Colby has a suitcase full of issues, and while being closeted is one of them, it’s her inability to deal with her frustrated grieving process that poisons every relationship, even one with a new potential girlfriend. Though the book at times meanders—the occasional online chat–styled dialogue doesn’t help—it is a mostly winning and amiable debut.— Courtney Jones, Booklist Oct. 2012

Product Details

  • File Size: 698 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape (September 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007TX6US2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,328 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just a "gay" book November 26, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I for one look forward to the day this kind of a book doesn't have to be labeled "gay and lesbian". Yes, the main character, Colby Bingham, is lesbian, and many of her friends are gay, lesbian, bi or trans, so clearly many of the issues of the book revolve around issues that affect LGBTQ teens - coming out, being out, getting bullied and/or ostracized, etc. But underlying those issues are simply issues that teens (and all of us, for that matter) deal with - love and loss, family and friend relationships, crushes, puppy love and introduction to dating. One certainly need not be gay or lesbian (or even a teen) to appreciate this book - I am a middle-aged married mother of two little girls, and I found it engaging, poignant and uplifting. Of course, if we ever reach the point that this book could simply be considered teen/young adult fiction rather than "gay" fiction, Ms. Bigelow would lose most of her plot.

Colby Bingham has been having a rough go of things lately. Her mother died of cancer a few years ago. Her father soon returned to his job as a long-haul truck driver. He and Colby rarely talk, at least about anything meaningful. Colby pretty much fends for herself working nights and weekends to pay for her ride, Scarlett, a red pick-up truck, and trying not to flunk chemistry. Things aren't all bad. Her best friend Van is sweetest, most understanding friend a girl could have, and she's got a great girlfriend. Sort of. Until her girlfriend dumps her. For a guy.

At that point, things begin spiraling out of control for Colby, but the dumping was only a catalyst, not the underlying issue. Colby is adrift - living a lie with the person closest to her and unable to reach out and find the support she needs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof The World Is Changing October 3, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Starting From Here" is an eminently readable, clear-eyed look at the life and times of Colby Bingham, a semi-closeted teenaged girl with a dead mother, absent father and the independence, self-reliance and pain that comes with the territory. Yet it is precisely those things that send her into a tailspin when her first girlfriend dumps her for a boy. Her free fall starts to get under control when she finds a stray mutt which promptly runs into traffic and is hit by a car. After bringing the damaged dog to the veterinary hospital she chooses to claim his ownership. However the dog needs surgery to amputate a rear leg and Colby doesn't have the money to pay.

Luckily Robyn, the veterinarian with 3 dogs of her own, takes a personal interest in Colby and her new dog and does the surgery for free, allows the dog to stay at the veterinary hospital when Colby is at school or work and even helps Colby to train her new canine friend. Suddenly Colby is receiving much needed unconditional love and the need to take care of someone other than herself requires she lose her self-absorption and re-engage with her life and world.

Written crisply with a keen ear for teenaged dialogue and a convincing knowledge of modern teenagers by Lisa Jenn Bigelow, "Starting From Here" is an uplifting story especially surprising after seeing the words "Amazon Children's Publishing" on the dust jacket. 40+ years ago when I was the age of the protagonist there were no lives like this, much less books about them. All the more reason to applaud the author and rejoice just how far America has come - in fiction if not always fact.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Starting Place September 16, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I picked up Starting From Here from my post office box, I had no idea it would be so good.

The story surrounds Colby Alicia Bingham, a could-be-better student and bagger at her local grocery store. She's what some would call a lone wolf, especially since her mother passed a year and a half ago and her father truck drives across the country every other week. She thinks she's found happiness with Rachel, her almost girlfriend, but then she dumps her, saying she's not serious enough. Colby's devastated and wallows in her hurt, cutting everyone off except her best friend Van.

Then one day she and Van are simply hunting for aluminum cans by the side of the road, and out darts a stray dog. A white bodied, black eared bull mix that Colby adopts, as she's worried about its safety.

Mo's arrival is right on time, considering Rachel is now in the arms of a dude for crying out loud. Without her dad around, Colby gets unconditional love from the dog she christens Mo, who also brings a new friend in veterinarian Robyn, who patched Mo up when he was at his worst.

Everything is peachy where Mo is concerned. Everywhere else is a mess. Her grades are about to send her to summer school. Seems as if she can't get away from Rachel and her new boyfriend. Van is insistent on playing matchmaker (without Colby's consent). And the one girl she has her eye on could be potentially heartbreaking.

She can't go through that again. Her heart already feels like a pin cushion. One more push might just cause it fall apart.

Starting From Here is a great debut novel from Lisa Jenn Bigelow. Colby is a genuine character who makes mistakes and eventually learns from them and makes amends in the best way she knows how. What else can you ask for?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book! I thought is was well written and the story line was fresh and very new. Apparently, L J Bigelow, is well read and her approach is very intuitive much like one... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jimk
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK!
Wow everyone! This is it! This is finally a lesbian novel that is not a cheap, juvenile, tacky attempt to capture audiences! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Victoria Candida
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent read
Good story line. A little corner in part but Good example to gay school life in small town. Some words were out of context .
Published 20 months ago by Annette Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars Starting From Here
A good book about struggles of life and love. An easy read and great filler on a sleepy warm night.
Published 20 months ago by Barbara j. Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars Starting from here
Written well. It made me cry in parts because I was so involved in the story. I loved the characters.
Published 20 months ago by Holly A. Coe
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad it's over
It was really good...but I hated the ending Lisa Benn Bigelow should write another one I want to know Kevin 're about Colby and her friends...
Published 20 months ago by Britney Clark
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Not bad...Def a light read. Enjoyable for a low price. Colby is a hard character to love but that was probably the point. Read more
Published 23 months ago by L. Galdis
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, mostly appropriate read for teens
My teenage daughter and I send books back and forth to each other fairly often. As her dad, I like to know what she is reading and it helps keep our relationship alive too. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Teen finds stray
Very much a tee & quick read. I'd recommend this story to a friend with teenage daughter. Good to help young people on letting go of past problems.
Published on May 14, 2013 by Brittany Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Candid, endearing, and memorable
Colby has always been a bit of a lone wolf. Her mother is dead and her father is on the road a lot as truck driver. Read more
Published on March 11, 2013 by The Compulsive Reader
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More About the Author

Born and raised in Michigan, Lisa now lives in the Chicago area, where she works as a youth services librarian. Her other interests include music, art, road trips, and spending time with her dogs, Saffy and Brooklyn.

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