- Series: Thorndike Literacy Bridge Young Adult
- Hardcover: 241 pages
- Publisher: Thorndike Press (February 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1410404382
- ISBN-13: 978-1410404381
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,871,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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When She Was Good (Thorndike Literacy Bridge Young Adult) Hardcover – Large Print, February 1, 2008
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|Hardcover, Large Print, February 1, 2008||
From Publishers Weekly
After years of abuse from her mentally ill older sister, a girl gingerly takes her first steps toward liberation when her tormentor dies. PW's starred review called the novel "heart-wrenching." Ages 12-up. (Jan.) n
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up. A taut, introspective narrative in which Em is worn down by years of physical and emotional abuse from her sister. Hope comes with the teen's eventual realization that she will emerge intact.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Em is born into a dysfunctional household with an alcoholic, abusive father and an enabling mother. When Em finds herself unable to adjust to having a stepmother after the death of the only person she has ever truly loved--her mother--she runs away to forge a life with her older sister. However, her sister, Pamela, is also abusive. The book begins with Pamela's death and then flashes back to their lives. It's the kind of book that grabs you and makes you feel all of Em's emotions.
By the end of the story life is starting to make more sense for Em. You feel that maybe she can begin a new life. A writing teacher once told our class, "Don't wrap up your story like a gift and put a red bow on it. You have to leave some questions at the end." Mazer does this. She isn't a Danielle Steele type--she's not going to give the heroine the perfect man who will produce simultaneous climaxes for them both--she's just trying to say that maybe Em will be able to clear a path from the wreckage.
With all that in mind, I believe that the age bracket for which this novel is recommended may not be entirely appropriate - as an educator, I have encountered very few grade eight students who would be able to fully comprehend and appreciate the depth to which abuse and mental illness are utilized in When She Was Good. Nevertheless, I would encourage any student who shuns popular/trendy titles and is interested in more sombre, introspective writing to give this book a try.