Brave New Girl
3 journalers for this copy...
A fourteen-year-old trying to find her way in the world, Doreen is as much an outcast at school as she is at home. Marginalized by her peers, misunderstood by her parents, and mourning the loss of her older brother who disappeared when she was just a child, Doreen finds solace in her fierce love of music and in her best friend, Ted.
But when her older sister begins dating a bewildering, twenty-one-year-old named Matthew, Doreen must confront feelings she never knew she possessed. Forced into adulthood kicking and screaming (not to mention swearing), Doreen ultimately impels her troubled family to forge a new understanding of the world--and, maybe more surprisingly, of one another.
Saved for a bookbox.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
This book is starting out in the Teens Shrinking Bookbox.
Later: Pretty edgy, this. In addition to basic teen issues regarding peer pressure, parents, etc., she has a brother, ten years older than she, who was thrown out of the house when he was 14. This is one of the first things we learn about her, and she follows it up by hoping "he's far away or dead and doesn't remember us anymore. I wouldn't want to." She has a friend, Ted, with whom she bonds over the Pixies, but otherwise feels very isolated.
While Doreen's foul-mouthed, angry, isolated, desperate mind-set was pretty darned alien to me, I have the awful feeling that it's much more familiar to a fair percentage of teens, which makes me very sad. She turned out to have some inner resources - and outer ones, eventually - but it was still an awful situation to be in... The bit where she couldn't quite tell her best friend what her sister's boyfriend did to her rang all too true, but was still uncomfortable to read. When she began to equate her own anger with Ted for not fighting back at the bullies who beat him up, she suddenly realizes she's angry at herself for the same reason; this doesn't fix things right away, but it's the beginning of a turnaround for her.
Doreen does get some support from at least one family member by the end of the story, and high time, too - though even then the entire family seemed to deal with its problems by screaming and/or punching and clawing. I admit that when she faced down the girlfriend of one of Ted's bullies at the end of the story I was cheering for her - some people don't understand anything but a threat of violence.
Oh, and that long-lost brother - I'd had suspicions of the truth about him, though when it did come out it felt like an afterthought, and a bit of a wasted opportunity. It certainly added to the downer elements of the story; this family can't catch a break...
WILD RELEASE NOTES: