A troubled teen responds to therapy despite herself.
When she first arrives at Sunny Meadows, a "therapeutic boarding school" her controlling, distant father has found for her, all Taylor wants to do is escape. She is on probation for stealing a car, an impulsive act carried out to escape from life with her dysfunctional, alcoholic mother. She quickly draws the unwanted attention of a group of mean girls and the friendship of the effervescent Margo, a former child actress. She also "meets" a boy who talks to her through an air duct (that apparently connects their two rooms and no others) and arranges platonic midnight meetings thanks to his bunch of illicitly reproduced keys. She is truculent in therapy, focusing only on her plan to get out. The air-duct conversations are ludicrously unbelievable, carried out as they are with her door open, and her success at creating a mold for a key is equally incredible. Despite this, readers are likely to sympathize enough with Taylor to read past these flaws and root for her as she reluctantly embraces rehabilitation. Taylor's character arc will surprise nobody, least of all Dr. Deb, her therapist. That process—in which grudging compliance becomes acceptance—is, if a little textbook, satisfyingly believable.
Despite a few bumps in the road, a hopeful model for growth through therapy. (Fiction. 14 & up)