An emotionally constipated girl falls in love.
Although she was born on Valentine’s Day, Piper Paisley believes that “being hopeful is just a big setup for disappointment.” Not that she doesn’t come by her skepticism about love honestly. She’s watched her mother’s two marriages fall apart and felt the pain of losing both her father figures, men who she thought really cared about her. Because of this unconscious fear of rejection, Piper is the “queen of pushing people away,” coming up with superficial Seinfeld-like reasons to rebuff any male who finds her attractive. But the people who love Piper aren’t about to let her stay in her shell forever, and this emergence is the heart of the novel. Despite the its good intentions, the book lacks spice, and not much tension is generated in this earnest story of emotional awakening. Perhaps it’s because the characters, though sometimes misguided, are essentially so well meaning that readers cannot ever doubt that the whole thing will end with a lesson learned and a group hug.
The particular lesson, that while “hearts are delicate,” they’re also “amazingly resilient,” is nevertheless valid, and while the story won’t attract readers outside of a narrow demographic, girls in need of emotional comfort should find it satisfying. (Fiction. 12 & up)