Review Detail

4.0 1
Young Adult Fiction 1455
Another WestSide Book winner
Overall rating
Writing Style
Carlie has a good life. She lives by the ocean, goes to a great school, and has a chance to go to the dance with the hottest guy on campus. After her father's death, things change. She ends up having to move to dreaded Las Pulgas and attend a tough urban school which is a far cry from her last suburban one. She's so embarrassed of her new high school and run down apartment, she doesn't want any of her friends from Channing to come and visit.

She's called "Princess" at her new school because of her aloof attitude. Things quickly go from bad to worse. Her brother Keith becomes angrier and causes bad vibes at their new school. Her beloved cat goes missing. When Carlie and Keith search for her cat they are ejected by gunpoint by a cowboy on his property. But when she comes home later to find that same cowboy having coffee with her mother, Carlie finds out that in Las Pulgas nothing is what it seems.

I really liked Carlie. At first her whole attitude about moving to Las Pulgas was kind of snobby. Losing her beloved father to cancer and then having to move due to financial difficulites would be hard for anyone.

Carlie's strengths are how she reconnects with others, including her mother and brother who are also having a tough time adjusting.

I liked how Carlie slowly was able to see who her real friends were. The people she meets in Las Pulgas aren't the stereotypical gangbangers. Each one of them strengths and vulerablities. Jeb, the gun toting cowboy who in his own gruff way looks out for them; Juan, who's not all he seems; and even Quicken the cat. Her English teacher has a To Sir with Love feel to him and a very surprising revelation.

The character that was most surprising was K.T. At first I was thinking oh, no, here's the cliche tough chica but K.T. ends up showing her strengths in surprising ways. One way is how she shares something with Carlie.

This is a great coming of age story that explores such issues as loss, moving, and prejudice.
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