From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Shawna is abandoned in Las Vegas by her mother, a gambling addict and shoplifter who no longer wants the responsibility of a child. She is left with only $100, a bus ticket to Sweet River, CA, and the name and phone number of a grandmother she's never met. She leaves, taking only her backpack and two small packages she has hidden behind the refrigerator. Kay, her grandmother, agrees to take her in. Both have strong defenses against hurt, and neither wants to let down those walls. Shawna is tough, used to depending on herself and living her way, but she must abide by Kay's rules: dinner at 7:00, chores on the horse ranch, and only Sunday off. Soon after the teen arrives in California, readers find out what was in the packages: a razor blade and a set of library cards from every place Shawna and her mother have lived. The girl cuts herself while hearing the voice of Monster, and as time goes on, she also communicates with a horse she grows to care for on a nearby farm. Sliding
reads like a problem-of-the-week novel. The protagonist only comes around after discovering the redemptive power of a horse and a grandmother's love (though Kay's abrupt change from irritation with her new charge to caring for her seems forced and perplexing). Too much is left unexplained: the reason Shawna keeps the library cards, why she self-mutilates, the identity of a woman with a long red braid who seems to be her only good memory. The characters are flat stereotypes, and Shawna's turnaround is too sudden.–Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved this Book!, May 19, 2014
Laura_6 - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sliding On The Edge (Paperback)
Shawnna has a bad life. No. I mean really, really bad. Her mom is the poster girl for how not to be a mother. She's selfish, unfeeling, and is teaching Shawnna to be a grifter like she is. In a twist of fate, her mother's wanting to be alone with new boyfriend #65 leads her to palm off her daughter on her grandmother, a woman Shawnna's never even met. This is Shawnna's only chance to live a normal life - if she can just keep all the bad habits of the past from taking over and ruining everything.Ms. McKenzie does a fabulous job with the teen character. A perfect voice and in-depth characterization join with a quirky background to form a brilliantly rendered picture of a girl hovering on the edge of sanity and self-destruction. Balancing this roller-coaster of a ride is the stable grandmother. Perhaps a bit staid, but the perfect foil for volatile Shawnna and the only one capable of teaching the girl about love and compassion. These characters will stick with me a long time. Highly recommended!