I was thinking back of when I was in junior high…awkward a little, legs were too long for my pants, trying to fit in by wearing makeup…but I just looked like a clown…(I thought those were bad days)…none of my junior high troubles compared to that of Deanna Lambert. She was only 13 (in 8th grade) when a 17 year old boy gave her the attention she so longed for. He stood in the bathroom adoring her while she wiped off the play makeup and told her she was beautiful without all that cover up. Of course that would melt the heart of any young teenage girl! His name was Tommy and the best friend of her brother, Darren. I can’t imagine going through what she did & having your father catch you (yikes!).
Deanna’s story though can speak to many teens. They find someone who will give them attention…then they give up their virginity and then get caught by her dad! (Ouch!) Now it is the summer between her sophomore and junior year and everything is coming to a point. She is dealing with her feelings, emotions, and relationships. Her father, even to this day, can’t look at her! She thinks he hates her but he is so disappointed in her and thinks both of his children are screw ups in life. Then, of course, the word got out about getting caught in the act and Tommy makes this huge story to make her look like a huge slut. Deanna is constantly defending herself because everyone has made accusations about her.
Now it’s the summer and she gets a job at Picasso’s Pizza and guess who works there….dreamy ol’ Tommy..(who actually isn’t as wonderful as she remembered) It’s the first time she has seen him (besides driving a few times) since her dad caught them in the back of his Buick. She blows him off most of the time but he is kind of nice so she agrees to let him take her home…but he goes back to their “spot” and tries to get frisky…Deanna comes to her senses and walks away from it. Things get awkward but she ends up spilling the beans of how he ruined her reputation and made him look like a hero. He finally says sorry and means it and after a while she forgives him too.
In the meantime, she is in love with her best friend Jason, who is dating her other best friend, Lee. When Lee is gone on a camping trip Deanna kisses Jason and starts a whole mess. Dee knows that Lee won’t forgive her…because, I mean, who would forgive a girl for kissing her boyfriend?! But sweet Lee does, she says “It’s okay” and moves on. Also going on in her crazy life…her brother, who had a baby with his girlfriend, Stacy, is living in their parents’ basement and life is less than manageable for them. Stacy gets fed up with life and leaves…but comes back to Darren and their baby, April.
Deanna is working so she can move out with Darren and Stacy, so they can have their own place and escape their father’s moods. He always seems to be angry and the kids can’t seem to do anything right. One day though, Dee is making a bottle for April and drops it. Dad offers to take April (whom he has only held once since she was born) and he gets her to stop crying. It is a moment that Deanna takes in. She hasn’t felt the warmth of her father in years.
In the end, it’s all about relationships and healing those relationships and forgiveness…but subtle forgiveness. Deanna has so many emotions… she hates Tommy, but is still attracted to him, scared of what he might do, but is tough against his words. With his parents, he longs for attention but hates them butting in her business. She wants to please her brother always and loves that he protects her.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the language she used in writing this book. It was very 21st century and relatable as a teenage girl with anger issues. She has a tough exterior but melts inside without letting anyone know. Deanna is a girl that chose a rough road, but the tides are changing for her, things are looking brighter, but she has to take it one day at a time. In my book, 5 stars– must read YA book.