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by Arlaina Tibensky

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: July 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4424-1323-8
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Life is “sofa king” hard that 15-year-old Keek has developed an addiction to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

In this cynical coming-of-age debut, this summer has to be the hardest. She is stuck at her grandmother’s house because she has the chicken pox, her father cheated with a waitress from their family restaurant and her mother has left to support her sister’s premature baby. In desperation, Keek turns to her grandmother’s typewriter to write poetry and record recent events. She can’t help but notice her similarities to Esther Greenwood, The Bell Jar’s main protagonist. In her conversational first-person account, which often sounds more mature than most 15-year-olds but always gets the feelings right, Keek expounds upon the breakup of her family and her obsession with her virginity and when to lose it. Those who have read The Bell Jar will appreciate such other Esther-like details as Keek’s unsympathetic mother, her nurturing grandmother (who suffered a nervous breakdown and shock treatments in the past), her wrestler boyfriend (who not only doesn’t appreciate her poetry but has betrayed her by sleeping with someone else) and seeing his penis for the first time. Also like Esther, Keek blends serious subject matter with sarcastic humor and claims her “I am” mantra to begin the healing process and take charge of her future.

Whether or not they are Plath lovers, readers will delight in Keek’s self-discovery. (Fiction. 14 & up)