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A beautiful young African-American goes through a string of bad men before she learns to love herself.

When her ambitious mother leaves her ineffectual father for a richer man, Tyler Blake and her sister are transplanted to an opulent but extremely dysfunctional new home in Atlanta. Six-year-old Tyler is assaulted by her teenaged stepbrother, and she witnesses her mother being abused by her new father. In high school, her first boyfriend rapes her, and she falls for flashy and possessive Trey, who ends up threatening Tyler with a gun before killing himself. Fleeing yet another failed relationship (this one capped by an abortion), Tyler moves to New York City, where she attends college and tries her hand at acting. She starts relying on men to take care of her financial, if not emotional, needs. With heart-stopping looks, Tyler attracts plenty of boyfriends, including Detroit-based NBA player Ian and big-shot music producer T-Roc, who helps her score some modeling gigs. Her relationships with the two men overlap, leading to a disastrous and predictably violent outcome. She then meets another smooth-talking, borderline-sociopathic music producer: Brian, who supports her while also supporting another woman and child. Believing herself to be in love, Tyler gets pregnant with Brian’s child right before their romance takes a turn for the worse. This results in an ugly custody case and in Tyler’s realization, at age 26, that she would be better off alone than with someone who mistreats her. King’s debut, a would-be cautionary tale, offers little but sloppy writing, despicable male characters and a silly heroine with gold-digger tendencies.

Repetitive, joyless melodrama.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-312-35407-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2006