Three sisters feel trapped in their tiny rural town, unable to find a way out.
Barbara, the youngest, can’t stand it when her teachers confuse her with her older sisters. They may look alike, but they have completely different personalities. She lives with her two older sisters, troublemaking Gracie and Annie, the oldest, who acts as mother to Barbara. When Gracie starts dating Cameron, Annie’s old flame, Barbara feels disgusted. She also finds herself reluctantly attracted to Zach, a drop-dead handsome newcomer in town claiming to be an orphan living off a large trust fund. As events continue, Barbara begins to believe that her family is not as it seems, only staying in the boring little town of Shallow Pond to hide a skeleton in the closet. Little does she know that soon she will discover the true, far more disturbing reason for their exile from the rest of the world, one that verges on science fiction and touches on a serious ethical issue. Once she reveals the shocking secret, however, Grosso uses it mainly to support the narrative surrounding Barbara’s emotional troubles, glossing over or ignoring major scientific essentials and allowing the question of ethics to evaporate into the relationship narrative.
The three sisters are memorable characters, but by introducing science treated so superficially, the author renders her plotline as shallow as her pond. (Fiction. 12 & up)