Laurie Halse Anderson has the gift of painting pictures of the real lives of today’s teens. As with her first break-out novel, Speak, this novel is written in a manner that will capture the attention of Young Adults. The characters are believable, honest, and witty. The underlying theme of dysfunction permeates the story as plastic facades fall away and the fact that every family has issues to deal with, some more difficult than others, is revealed. Struggling with addictions, undiagnosed PTSD symptoms, young love, and how to feel normal become everyday norms for the characters.
This book did not affect me as deeply as Speak, but it addresses difficult issues head-on and would be a great book to discuss in a teen book club. Helping students see that even in an imperfect world, friendship can happen and that relationships can be mended, relied on, and lasting.