Age Range: 14 & up
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Punked out, pierced, tattooed and attitudinal, Brit Hemphill is an average teen, basking in her own rebellion and arrogance. Asked to accompany her father on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, she happily obliges. When she is left at Red Rock—a quasi–boot camp/rehab for “troubled” teen girls—Brit is diagnosed with the vague “oppositional defiance disorder.” She quickly meets other girls who suffer from similar “afflictions”: promiscuous Bebe, bi-curious Cassie, overweight Martha and rebellious V. The girls quickly form a bond and vow to expose the “cruelty as therapy,” where girls take turns hurling insults at a chosen victim at “confrontational therapy” or “backcountry therapy,” which involves long hot treks through the desert without adequate water reserves. Forman tackles a usual teen issue—seeking respect and acknowledgment from adults—and puts a new slant on it. Through the bonds of their friendship, the girls eventually come to face their own demons, leading to an ending not entirely surprising, though not particularly unsatisfying, either. Think Girl, Interrupted meets Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. (author’s note) (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-088747-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2007

Kirkus Interview
Gayle Forman
author of I WAS HERE
January 27, 2015

In I Was Here, Gayle Forman’s latest novel after the release of the movie version of her novel If I Stay, Cody’s best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room and Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question. “An engrossing and provocative look at the devastating finality of suicide, survivor’s guilt, the complicated nature of responsibility and even the role of the Internet in life-and-death decisions,” our reviewer writes. We talk to Forman on January 27 on Kirkus TV. View video >


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