Readers of this teen novel will appreciate its realistic and witty dialogue as they navigate its tightly packed plot.
High-school valedictorian Parker's life has been a crush of sad confusion since her mother left the family to move in with her girlfriend. Ostracized by many of her friends and her church, Parker has quit the softball team and taken to making out with random guys in a heartbreaking effort to prove to her tormentors she's not a lesbian like her mom. When she meets a hot 23-year-old assistant coach at her school, he seems to be a kindred spirit. As things progress and they become physical, however, he seems more interested in trying to convince her to have sex than in talking. Bits of Parker’s journal-style writing featured throughout very effectively serve to bring readers into her corner. In a sweetly described romantic turn, she also begins to fall for a longtime acquaintance, but her best friend Drew finally comes out to her and drunkenly confesses a secret crush on him. All of this, plus the poignant details of her home life with a depressed father and drug-abusing brother, eventually drives her to contact her mom and face herself.
With characters this nuanced, many teens won't mind all the issues flying fast and furious. (Fiction. 14 & up)