- CRRL Staff
The sequel to What My Mother Doesn’t Know is
What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones.
Robin's life at Cambridge High School is miserable. The arty outsider's last name becomes the pejorative slang of the school—as in, "Don't be such a Murphy." His lot improves, however, when popular Sophie becomes his girlfriend despite the detriment to her reputation. Better still, the freshman is invited to audit an art class at Harvard. It is his homecoming; for once, he is the comedian rather than the butt of jokes. One of the college freshmen even shows some romantic interest in him. Written as a novel in verse, this title is a fast-paced, page-turning romp that gives authentic voice to male youth even when it is painfully truthful.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones.
Ruby has turned her grief into anger at her father: because he divorced her mother before she was born, because she has had to leave her best friend Lizzie and her boyfriend Ray to come to Los Angeles to live with him, and because he is Whip Logan, a very famous and rich movie star. She turns a cold shoulder to all his gentle and persistent attempts to relate to her, sneers at the glamour of his Beverly Hills mansion and famous friends, and spends most of her time writing desperate emails to Lizzie and Ray, and her dead mother, from her Dream Bedroom. The friendship of Max, Whip's live-in assistant/personal trainer, is some comfort, and Ruby has a harder and harder time keeping her sneer as Whip ups the ante, from rides in his classic vintage cars, to shopping trips for anything she wants, to weekends in Las Vegas and Catalina and a party where Eminem is the guest of honor. But an earthquake leads to a surprising revelation that changes everything for Ruby, in an enormously satisfying ending.
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr.
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.
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.
After losing her soul mate, Cameron, when they were nine, Jennifer, now seventeen, transformed herself from the unpopular fat girl into the beautiful and popular Jenna, but Cameron's unexpected return dredges up memories that cause both social and emotional turmoil.