Valerie feels understandably guilty about what happened during and after the party.
She drugged her little sister with Benadryl, drank too much and made out with her crush, Adam. When Adam comes by the next day and forces himself on her, she says, “Don’t”—but he does. After pressing rape charges, Val waits in vain for her friends' support. Instead, Adam texts her: “The fuck you smoking, bitch?” Klein's first novel breaks no new ground with its familiar plotline of a girl presumed to have led a boy on while he's perceived as blameless. While it creates a sense of immediacy, the meandering, limited first-person narration presents problems with characters’ motivations, particularly Val's moody mother, who withholds information about the court case from Val. A barista named Wes serves advice along with a comforting drink. He’s the setup for Val’s acceptance of the Hispanic girl who befriends her. He offers unnecessary justification for diversity, describing his family as “the United Nations in miniature. Angie’s Dad’s Korean, mine’s Italian, and my brother’s sheer whitey.” Adam's values don’t align with his professed Mormon faith, and by the unsatisfying ending, Val's still apologizing for being a bitch, and Adam never gets beyond the lame "who can ever tell what a girl really wants?”
Readers looking for insight into acquaintance rape would be better served by Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. (Fiction. 12 & up)