This debut novel evokes a classic to present a girl searching for something true.
Tori Spring is a disaffected teenager: She can almost never finish a film in one sitting, she's smart but can't care about school anymore, and she dislikes her friends but is unwilling to forgo their company. About the only thing she cares about is her brother Charlie, who's recovering from an eating disorder. When a mysterious blog called Solitaire starts triggering pranks at her school, Tori isn't too interested, even if strange new boy Michael Holden tries to make her be. Tori's too trapped in her head, too convinced the whole world sucks, to care about Michael's overtures of friendship or the arrival at her school of an old friend, Lucas. But when Solitaire's pranks cross lines and people start getting hurt, Tori will be forced to discover if the world has anything good in it. Like Holden Caulfield, Tori is looking for something that isn’t phony, but while the story more or less achieves its goal of evoking a modern-day, English The Catcher in the Rye, it’s still not very engaging. Only Michael and Charlie are likely to engage readers’ sympathies, while Tori's unpleasantness makes it hard to see why Michael and Lucas are so fixated on her.
Still, Oseman’s novel will be popular with those who worship Holden. (Fiction. 14-18)