Ellen Hopkins, September 2012. This book is primarily narrated by three teenagers, with a few other voices popping up from time to time. Mikayla has fallen too hard for the wrong boy and now finds herself pregnant. Harley is a former good girl who’s now eager to find new friends, date, and even lose her virginity. Shane’s little sister is dying, and he’s fallen in love with a boy who’s HIV-positive. Their stories intertwine to create a disturbing picture of teen life in suburban Nevada.
I wanted to like this book because I’m such a fan of Hopkins’s anti-censorship work, but I really didn’t. It’s not all her fault – I don’t care for novels in verse, for no good reason other than that they don’t float my particular boat. And this did seem like the type that’s just prose with line breaks rather than actual poems. But really my main concern is that I wasn’t interested enough in these characters. After reading all 603 pages, I still was confused about who was whose cousin, etc., and I didn’t really care enough to flip back and find out.
I’d recommend this book to teens who like this sort of thing, and there are many, but I can’t really say it’s for most of the adults I know. Doesn’t matter – Hopkins has a huge audience of adoring teens, teachers, and librarians – as she should. I just don’t happen to be one of them.