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by Gayle Forman

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-088747-6
Publisher: HarperTeen

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)