In a novel tailor-made for literature teachers, four unwilling high-school girls and their mothers join a summer book club with both comic and tragic results.
In the summer before her junior year, Adrienne, recovering from a knee injury, falls under the influence of beautiful and irresponsible CeeCee, another reluctant member of the book club. Adrienne has always had a good relationship with her mother, but CeeCee flippantly bullies her into late-night excursions that do not end well and pesters Adrienne about her absent father. Reluctant to blame CeeCee for anything, Adrienne instead begins to worry that her single mother sees her as a “mistake.” Meanwhile the two other girls, Jill and Wallis have problems of their own. Adrienne constantly re-injures her knee during CeeCee’s midnight outings, the mothers begin quarreling with one another and circumstances deteriorate until the girls’ final nighttime jaunt ends tragically. Schumacher weaves the narrative around common literary terms, such as setting, mood and conflict, which she illustrates in their respective chapters. Always a bookworm, Adrienne also ties her first-person narration into the five books the club reads, including The Left Hand of Darkness, Frankenstein and The Awakening. The characters, especially the four girls, sparkle, and even amid drama the narration remains lighthearted enough to appeal beyond bookish readers.
Smart and insightful. (Realistic fiction. 12 & up)