A troubled teen tries to tell a truth no one wants to hear in this problem novel told almost exclusively in dialogue.
Fifteen-year-old Angelyn Stark seems to relish her position as the head of a pack of bad girls, but her tough exterior covers a terrible secret. The summer she was 12, her stepfather, Danny, sexually molested her. The abuse stopped after a neighbor called police, but when her mom didn’t believe her, Angelyn told investigators it never happened. Danny still lives with them, and Angelyn endures her mother’s anger over the incident. Angelyn’s boyfriend, Steve, keeps pressuring her for sex, but she’s only interested in her teacher, Mr. Rossi, the single adult in her life who encourages her. But Mr. Rossi is fighting demons of his own and rightly fears that a relationship with Angelyn will jeopardize his reputation. She will have to save herself. While Angelyn is an intriguing, complicated character, the clipped, occasionally clichéd conversations that make up most of the novel do little to deepen secondary characters’ dimensions beyond type. In addition, subplots concerning a new girl and Angelyn’s next-door neighbor get lost in the more compelling story lines of Angelyn vs. Mom, Steve and Mr. Rossi.
Still, the ample white space created by long stretches of dialogue and the provocative topic make this an ideal selection for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 14-18)