What she doesn’t realize is how easy it is to get more than you’re ready for.
In this compelling and often harrowing novel for teen readers, first-time author Kerry Cohen Hoffmann delves into the mind of a teenage girl as she attempts to replace the shifting relationships with friends and family with sexual exploration.
With candid storytelling rooted in years of personal experience, Mrs. Hoffmann offers a searing look at how easy it is to take a wrong turn in search for the right answers.
EASY to relate to!
Reader reviewed by Randi
This book honestly caught my attenson. I could relate to Jessica, the main character, so much! Being fifteen and starting to experience new things including physical contact with the opposite sex, I can truly visualize and cope with what the characters are going through. Theres always the girl that's considered the "school slut" or the mean popular girl, and that flat chested girl, who considers everything slutty, and of course the inbetween girl who is confused about who she really is. No matter what type of character you are in life not only do you get to cope with you're corresponding character, but you get to see through the perspectives of other peoples personalities. This is frankly one of the most enjoyable and relatable books I've ever read.
An important, if not-quite perfect, first novel
Reader reviewed by Leann Heywood
At fourteen, Jessica is feeling very, very alone. Her mother is drowning in grief over her recent divorce; her sister, Anne, is busy taking care of their mother; her father is consumed by the new love in his life; and her best friend, Elizabeth, seems happy to stay in her childhood while Jess feels ready to grow up. So she turns in a new direction: to boys. Shes seen the way the guys at school are looking her lately, and she loves the special feeling she gets when men notice her as she walks down the street. Its only natural then that when popular Jason, Jessicas long-time crush, chooses her to kiss at a party, she reciprocates. And when Ted, an older guy that Jess meets on one of her walks, shows interest in her, of course she is flattered by his attention as well. Finally, people seem to be paying attention to her.
The problem is that, despite Jessicas talent at capturing truth in her photography, she isnt always very good at seeing the truth about herself. She is slow to realize that these guys are much more interested in her newly-developed body than in her selfand even once she does make the connection, sadly, she thinks (for a time) that she must accept it.
Hoffmann, a family and teen psychologist, clearly understands the issues of insecurity, loneliness, and identity that many teen girls face. Jessicas insecurity is tricky. She is confident in her looks and in her belief that she sees reality much more clearly than everyone else (and in many cases, she is right). But this confidence disguises Jesss real problem: she no longer knows who she is or where she belongs. The author threads this theme throughout the novel in a clear, if heavy-handed, way, by having Jess struggle to come up with the perfect self-portrait photograph to enter into a national competition. Nothing subtle here, but at least readers wont miss the point.
There are some spots where I felt the author stumbled a bit (for instance, having Jessica and Elizabeth understand, and even joke about, the term co-dependency, but not knowing the word monogamy), and a couple of plot points that happen later in the book where I would have liked to have seen the author make less obvious choices, but the overall presentation of Jessicas story is well done. Jesss home life and social life are woven together nicely, and most of the characters are reasonably fleshed-out (although a bit more attention to the male characters would have been nice; they tend to be pretty one-dimensional). The narrators voice is direct, frank, and slightly emotionally distanced, which I felt was spot-on for Jessicas character.
I wont say this book is a must-read for every teenage girl and her mother, but I do believe there are a lot of girls (and mothers struggling to understand their girls) out there who will identify with Jessicas story and maybe take some comfort in it. A well-crafted issue novel.