A troubled teen tries to understand how her life has hit rock bottom in this clumsily executed, issue-cluttered novel.
Seventeen-year-old Scilla lives in a low-income dump, her best friend, Willow, is a drug addict and she keeps making out with Willow’s drug-dealing brother, Randy, even though she suspects she might be gay. In addition, she killed a woman while driving a speedboat drunk last summer. Her trial is coming up, and she might get a deal if she agrees to trade information on Randy’s drug connections, but first she’ll have to survive an attempted convenience-store robbery, a mob panicked by lightning at a concert and a multiple-vehicle car accident. Parts of Scilla’s history essay on Sherman’s March and anecdotes about a fictional designer drug named Ferocity muddy the plotline even further. Scilla’s cliché-ridden, unrealistically self-aware voice is didactic at best and doesn’t even begin to approximate how a teenager speaks at worst: “I’ve discovered a world that can’t be experienced by those who stick to the straight and narrow, and I like this world immensely at times…. Peer pressure is a difficult thing to resist, mostly because in all of us, there is a part that has no desire to resist.”
While peer pressure may be difficult to resist, this novel is not. (Fiction. 14 & up)