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Young Adult Fiction 288
Pictures never tell the whole story
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Phoebe is fourteen and going through all of the normal freshman year stuff (fretting about boys, hanging out with friends, etc.). But it is her home life that takes a turn for the confusing when her mother, a Bee Beautiful Cosmetics sales person, decides to take a job at the corporate level and leaves the rest of the family behind to fend for themselves. Just like that shes gone.

She also leaves behind Judge Trask, Phoebes father, and Phoebes brother Zane. Their older sister Shyla is already away at college. No one quite knows what to do without the mother in the picture.

Then Beverly, an attractive widow, moves in next door and soon Phoebe and Zane suspect that she has designs on Judge Trask. They certainly do seem awfully friendly, no matter how rude the kids periodically are to her.

Other matters complicate the plot, like a pivotal court case for the Judge that puts his life in danger. And then theres Nick, Phoebes boyfriend, who has his own issues (including a father that might be involved in the matter surrounding the Judge).

All of it is piling up to make for a very confusing year for the Trask family. And then Beth Trask comes home but only because she has been diagnosed with cancer.

Ultimately, this is a hopeful book with an uplifting ending. But, as the title hints at, nothing is really ever picture perfect. Life is messy sometimes and things dont work out the way we want (or expect) nor should it.

For all the emotional events in the book, I found Phoebes voice to be low-key, though honest. Theres a lot going on and readers will be pulled into her life and they will root for her, even when she makes mistakes. Recommended for readers aged 12 and up.
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