From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—When Deanna's father catches her having sex in a car when she is 13, her life is drastically changed. Two years later, he still can't look her in the eye, and though Tommy is the only boy she's been with, she is branded the school slut. Her entire family watches her as though she is likely to sleep with anyone she sees, and Tommy still smirks at and torments her when she sees him. Her two best friends have recently begun dating, and Deanna feels like an intruder. She tries to maintain a close relationship with her older brother, but Darren and his girlfriend are struggling as teenage parents. Deanna learns to protect herself by becoming outwardly tough, but feels her isolation acutely. Her only outlet is her journal in which she writes the story of an anonymous girl who has the same experiences and feelings that she does. Through this, readers see the potential that Deanna cannot identify in herself. This is a heartbreaking look at how a teenager can be defined by one mistake, and how it shapes her sense of self-worth. This is realistic fiction at its best. Zarr's storytelling is excellent; Deanna's reactions to the painful things said to her will resonate with any reader who has felt like an outsider. It is an emotionally charged story, with language appropriate to the intensity of the feelings. Story of a Girl
is recommended for both teens and the adults who live and work with them.—Stephanie L. Petruso, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Odenton, MD
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*Starred Review* Deanna was 13 when her father caught her and 17-year-old Tommy having sex. Three years later, she is still struggling with the repercussions: how Tommy jokingly made her into the school slut; how the story became legend in her small town; how her father looked at her then--and now doesn't look at her at all. Her brother, Darren, has mistakes to handle, too: he lives with his girlfriend and their baby in his parents' basement. And while Deanna's mother seems numb, her father is perpetually angry and depressed. Meanwhile, in a misguided search for love brought on by the confusion of seeing Tommy again, Deanna intentionally hurts her two closest friends. Although she's more aware than most how a single event can define a person, Deanna still struggles to gain insight into herself, her family, and her friends. When she finally does, she's able to create small but positive changes in her relationships with them all. Characters are well drawn, especially Deanna, whose complicated, deeply felt emotions turn the story. There are plenty of heartbreaking moments, too, including a poignant confrontation with Tommy. Though nothing is miraculously fixed by the close, everyone's perspective has changed for the better. This is a thoughtful, well-executed debut from an author who understands how to write for teens. Krista HutleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved