From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Three popular girls-Paige, Lacey and Nikki-are involved in an accident at the end of their junior year of high school as a result of drunk driving. Sent away for the summer to be an au pair in Paris by her image-conscious mother, Paige returns to her senior year only to find her friends and boyfriend acting strangely. The once tight threesome is divided by Nikki's possible anorexia and promiscuity, injured Lacey's air of martyrdom, and Paige's lack of sympathy. Their goal of being homecoming princesses begins to look less likely. When Paige takes a creative writing class with a charismatic teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves and meets some uncool teens, her character develops and she slowly learns to be kinder and less of a snob. There are a lot of pertinent themes in Backes's novel (Candlewick, 2012): peer pressure, problematic family relationships, casual cruelty of teens, and homophobia. Not all are satisfactorily dealt with, but listeners will be interested to track Paige's growth. Shelby Lewis's spot-on narration perfectly reflects the teenage tone, drawing listeners in. She makes some characters even more likeable than they were on the page, and draws our attention to the arrogance of others. Ultimately, Paige reveals who was behind the wheel on that fateful night, and the girls do their best to deal with the situation. A good choice for young adult collections.-B. Allison Gray, Goleta Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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A well-executed first novel... Backes addresses guilt, deceit, homophobia, loyalty, and the burden of keeping up appearances in a brutally believable high school setting as Paige recognizes the weaknesses of loved ones and her own imperfections.
In this debut novel, Backes takes Dead Poets Society and brings it into the age of Mean Girls. Her writing style is witty while still being relatable, and the themes of acceptance and identity will ring true to teens... Backes re-creates a world that most teens already live in, with the overarching message that anyone can become more than what others perceive them to be.
—School Library Journal