Liza thinks everyone else has a better life than she does; her younger sister Holly is perfect, her best friend Chloe has perfect parents and no siblings, and her sort-of boyfriend Forrest has always known what he wanted to be (a podiatrist). Liza, on the other hand, is jealous of her sister, has parents who don't seem to care much about her, and has caught her father philandering. When she writes a sterling essay on Hester Prynne's shame, her teacher refuses to believe that she wrote it and insists that it be done over. Liza worships her teacher, and doesn't have the courage to stand up to her. Suburban adolescent angst can be pretty tiresome, but Stevens' punchy prose enlivens the proceedings. No doubt many teenagers will see themselves in Liza, who has a long list of things she hates, spends a lot of her time feeling sorry for herself and worrying what others think of her, and is afraid she has no personality. The side of herself she shows to the world is fairly bland, but the inner life she exhibits in this first-person narration is anything but. A tragedy near the end feels gratuitously tacked on, but the rest of this likable teen's story is realistic. An interesting, if flawed debut novel with pungent writing that keeps it moving.