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by M. Doty

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-22015-6
Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

A flimsy, frothy and fraught chronicle of freshman year.

Until her fatal car accident, Emily’s sister Sara was The Machine, known for her dedication to a punishing fitness regimen and her peerless skill as a swimmer. Emily worshiped Sara, and she’s continued her efforts to live up to her late sister’s legacy by embracing an 8,000-calorie daily diet, a strict sleep schedule and daily three-hour training sessions with her dad, the obsessive and demanding coach of her high school’s swim team. Emily’s schedule leaves no time for a social life outside of nightly instant messaging and a monthly sleepover with best friend Kimi. And romance, even with puckishly appealing senior Ben? Out of the question. Her intense rivalry—in and out of the water—with teammate Dominique soon prompts Emily to sneak out to attend Ben’s latest party, where romantic sparks fly. Cheating on her sleep schedule to spend time with Ben and happy for the first time, Emily questions her commitment to swimming and learns that Sara, too, had a secret love life. It all culminates in two clichéd confrontations with Coach Dad. The charms of Emily’s story—snappy dialogue, adorable chemistry—can’t buoy the soggy clichés of maniacal Coach Dad, too-perfect teachers and a thoroughly unbelievable final competition.

Inessential. (Fiction. 12-16)