- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Skyscape; Reprint edition (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0761455922
- ISBN-13: 978-0761455929
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Returnable Girl Paperback – October 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–Veronica Hautman is 13 and unsettled. Since her mother left two years ago, she has been in a succession of foster families, including an uncle and a religious but selfish aunt. Now she is living with a new foster mother, a child psychologist who is willing to tackle Ronnie's lying, stealing, and violent outbursts. Through diary entries, the girl relates her conflicted feelings toward, and sporadic long-distance interactions with, her mother; her growing love for and desire to be good for the first authority figure to care for her; and a complex peer environment. By creating a truly believable teenage narrative voice and a fully realized cast of characters, Lowell offers an engrossing, well-plotted, and impressive read. Each character, from Ronnie's depressed and self-destructive neighbor to the motorcycle-riding youth minister, struggles with very human challenges and plays a meaningful role in the girl's growth. Difficult issues–betrayal, depression, emotional abuse–are handled without melodrama or sensationalism. Ultimately, the novel celebrates the resilience of both teens and adults, the bonds formed in healing, and the journeys taken in finding and following one's heart. Readers will feel they have traveled the physical and emotional distance with Ronnie, and will find comfort and hope in the story's resolution.–Riva Pollard, The Winsor School Library, Boston
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dumped by her druggie mom, Veronica (Ronnie), 13, spent three years in nine different foster homes, until she finds a family with counselor Alison, who comes to love her and wants to adopt her. But can Ronnie trust anyone? Can she abandon the idea of reuniting with her "real" mom? In her first novel, Lowell, a family therapist, brings close the drama of betrayal and longing through Ronnie's first-person narrative, which always stays true to the young teen's viewpoint. In Ronnie's desperate need for acceptance by the popular kids at school, she abandons her needy friend, Cat, to the crowd's unspeakable cruelty and reveals that Cat is giving blow jobs. There are messagey moments (especially involving Alison's wise boyfriend), but even Alison proves less than perfect, and Ronnie learns that forgiveness is part of love. Readers will be moved by the story of anger and distrust in a harsh world, and the temptation to give up the best in yourself to fit in. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Abandoned by her mother, thirteen-year-old Ronnie has been in over ten foster homes. Now her foster mother, Allison wants to adopt her. Being adopted means giving up hopes of being reunited with her mother and two brothers (who weren't abandoned). She's also dealing with friend drama. Desperate to be popular, Ronnie is unkind to Cat, her only real friend, to please the mean girls.
Pamela Lowell works with foster kids as a therapist, and I couldn't help but to wonder if she created Allison, also a therapist, after herself. While Allison wasn't perfect, she was pretty darn close. I'm also a therapist and I've worked with foster kids and I thought Lowell did a pretty good job with Ronnie's character. For a good part of the book, Ronnie was unlivable, destructive and selfish, often cringe worthy. While her behavior was typical and understandable, it made her difficult to embrace. The worst part for me was her treatment if Cat.
Told in epistolary form of journal entries, I never got the feeling I was reading young a teen's diary. The style was more of an adult, not really trying to sound like a teen, but trying to write for a teen. The dialogue also felt written rather than organic.
Lowell included a fair amount of christianity in the book, though she tried to tamper it down with a down to earth youth pastor and having Allison not be a church goer. A lot of my clients would be turned off by this, though some would appreciate this aspect.
Themes: family, foster care, adoption, substance abuse, promiscuity, religion
RETURNABLE GIRL lacked connection and felt "off", but might appeal to a select group of teens, but I don't think it has universal appeal.