Celia Door is determined to make a fresh start with high school. She’s got her protective shell, The Darkness, and her poetry, and she is NOT going to let the things that happened in eighth grade, or her parents’ “trial” separation, get her down. Except this: she is going to, somehow, get back at the girls who made her life miserable in eighth grade with The Book.
One of the issues I had with this book was that we don’t find out what the big deal was about The Book in eighth grade, why these girls — Sandy and Mandy — were so mean, until nearly the end of the book. Granted, when we do find out, it’s a classic example of bullying, one that makes the two girls out to be real harpies. While I understood why it took so long for the author to reveal the reason behind Celia’s actions, knowing it sooner probably would have made Celia more sympathetic — or, at the very least, made me less likely to want to smack her.
In spite of all her good intentions, things don’t look good for Celia. Sandy and Mandy are still on her case, she has no friends, and she’s finding high school English a lot less fun than middle school. Things are looking like just a repeat of the past, until she meets Drake, a New York City transplant. He and Celia becomes friends: for him, she’s someone edgy, unlike their suburban cookie-cutter classmates. For her, he’s someone who doesn’t know about The Book and has an air of sophistication and Mystery that comes with being from NYC. And being gay.
On top of all that, things with Celia’s parents have gone from bad to worse, and she’s only feeling trapped in her life.
For the most part, I liked this book, even with all its hammering at issues. Now that I think about it, I may have liked it for that. While it’s not as powerful as some others I’ve read, it’s a solid book about bullying, about coming out and finding yourself, and about accepting things for what they are. It’s aimed for a younger readership than some of the other issue books I’ve read, yet it still deals with things that kids have to deal with.
And for that, I applaud Finneyfrock.
Rated: High, for four f-bombs near the end of the book. A moderate for adult readers.