Harmless

 
0.0
 
3.3 (3)
2616 0
Harmless
Age Range
10+
Release Date
February 13, 2007
ISBN
9780385746991
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There was a man. He had a knife. He attacked us down by the river. It was just a harmless little lie. Anna, Emma and Mariah concoct a story about why they're late getting home one night—a story that will replace their parents' anger with concern. They just have to stand by it. No matter what. Suddenly the police are involved, and the town demands that someone be punished. And then there is the man who is arrested and accused of a crime that never happened.

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Consequences of Lies
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
0.0
Learning Value 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by carmen alexis

This book sucked me in from the start. I loved the plot of it and the characters were great as well. The way that the story was told through three different narrations made it that much better and the characters of Emma, Anna and Mariah were well-developed and ever-changing.

Emma was the one who came up with the story of "something bad" happening to her, as the victim. She had started out as a pretty confident, if isolated because of her best friend, young girl and ends up being the one who's remorseful and having the most trouble with the lies. From the start of each narration, all three girls say that they should/would have told the truth if they could do it again, but I believe that only Emma really would have done so, if not obvious by the way the story runs out.

Anna at the beginning seems sincere, but through the eyes of Emma and Mariah, you begin to realize just how dependent she was on her friends and how much popularity means to her. From being the timid and frantic girl, she gains confidence... but not in a good way. She starts to enjoy herself and even fancies condemning an innocent man because she's finally noticed. Although Anna proclaims throughout the entire novel that she would have came out with the truth, I don't believe it. Even when the truth unraveled, you get the feeling that she's going to be the one who'll miss it the most. She was the one who ultimately ran away, unlike Emma.

Mariah was a little harder to decide whether I liked her or not. But I like her complexity. She was a little poor girl, a little rich girl, and ultimately, a girl who's just confused. Although she was like Anna, enjoying the lies, she eventually gets too caught up in it and you get the feeling she wants out.

I hope I didn't exactly spoil it for readers who haven't read this novel yet. It's a great read with a sense of morals behind it.

Reprinted here with author's permission.
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Just Okay
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
0.0
Learning Value 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Vanessa

Expected more out of this book but nonetheless it was good. About three girls who become good friends: Mariah, popular, dates older men, Anna, quiet, not really popular, family-girl, and Emma, close to her brother, best friends for a long time with Anna, started to hang out with Mariah.
Mariah starts seeing DJ who invites them over to a party. At first it was a little lie and they got away with it. But having lied once will just surmount and you'll consequently lie again and again to cover up the last lie. Emma seems to have found a new guy (one of DJs friends) and soon becomes quiet. Of course she got drunk, had sex and she wishes to take it back (my interpretation, anyway). Mariah gets heavy with DJ, who in the end basically ditches Mariah for another girl who he ultimately takes to prom. Mariah feels stupid. Anna feels left out, both Mariah and Emma seem to have gotten with a boy and she hasn't. Between all this there's more drama: that lie I told you about? Well, it was a bigger deal than I made it seem. To get out of their lie about going to yet another party instead of the movies the girls decide to lie about it--saying they were almost attacked by a homeless man that they see around the river. Of course it never happened, but its a story they manufacture to get out of trouble.
Manufacturing that story is more trouble than they awaited, their parents take the to the police to inform the authorities about the supposed attack. Questions asked, they give false answers. Can't they see its against the law?
A little girl goes missing. The authorities think of that maybe the girls' case and this new girl, Eleanor's case are connected. The cops cuff the homeless man, a suspect in both cases now. An overly dramatic (reminds me of Kiss My Book, look down... its a horrible book I read) march about women and them not being attacked because they have their rights and their getting together for a purpose........
In the end Mariah, Emma, and Anna get in trouble for it, they're caught. The homeless man decides not to press charges because the girls are "just kids and make mistakes and should be forgiven". So the girls move away to different places and never speak again, with a chance at a new beginning.

Reposted at whatvanessareads.wordpress.com
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kind of a weird story...
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
0.0
Learning Value 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Katherine Worden

In Harmless, Dana Reinhardt writes of what happens when a lie goes too far. Its one of those books when you want to hit the characters over the head, grab them by their shoulders, shake, and scream, what the heck do you think you are doing? You may think Im overreacting, but Im not. Starting out with mistakes like, not telling their parents they are at a party, doing the old, Im at her house, shes at mine trick, and getting caught. Instead of just admitting where they were, the three girls, Anna, Mariah, and Emma decide to come up with the story that a man grabbed them while they were walking, and tried to rape Emma. They got away though. Anna tells his story to her parents, expecting them to say, well, were glad you got home safe, lets forget about this. Hello? You were attacked? And lets just forget about it? That is probably not the smartest story they could have come up with. And it gets even better. Their parents call the police, and the girls still keep up their story, even when it means sending an innocent man to jail. What is their problem? This is a mark of a good writer, making me feel emotion towards the characters, but these girls are old enough to know, you dont joke around about rape, and with police. Just tell the truth for Petes sake!! In my opinion, the characters were really annoying, and kind of stupid. The book was kind of confusing, but not bad as far as story wise, showing how telling lies is bad. In my opinion however, they get off way too easy!
-Katherine Worden


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